The Palace on Tuesday contradicted Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde, who urged the public to “move on” from the issue of ninja cops that has been hounding him.
In remarks Tuesday, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the PNP chief cannot ask the public to “move on” from the controversy over crooked cops who resell confiscated drugs since the investigation is still ongoing.
“In the first place, you can’t stop the public from talking about it,” he said.
“Maybe what he meant was don’t talk about it until the findings of the investigation are finalized,” Panelo added.
Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte is looking for an “honest” and “competent” chief of the PNP to replace Albayalde who will retire next month.
READ: Duterte: Investigate Albayalde
Panelo said the President has no name in mind yet, but honesty and competence will be his basis for appointing the next police chief.
“It depends. Sometimes the President appoints people even he does not know them,” Panelo told reporters in a Palace briefing.
“Maybe he appoints on the basis of reputation preceding the appointee,” he added.
Albayalde, who will step down on Nov. 8, has been hounded by controversy over his alleged intervention in the dismissal of his former subordinates in Pampanga.
The 13 policemen who were then under his command were accused of reselling drugs seized in a raid in Mexico, Pampanga, in 2013.
An order was issued in November 2014 for their dismissal, but the order was never carried out.
Albayalde has denied the allegations.
President Duterte ordered the Department of the Interior and Local Government to investigate Albayalde’s alleged link to rogue policemen who resell seized narcotics.
READ: Rody confused: No generals, only colonel among ‘ninja cops’
Duterte said he needed “clear proof” that Albayalde committed wrongdoing before booting him out of the PNP.
An official of the Department of Justice on Tuesday said the revelations made by former police official and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee are crucial in the reinvestigation to be conducted by the department.
“Mr. Magalong should be part of the complainant or may want to testify himself, bring in other persons,” Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said, in an interview over ABS-CBN.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has created a panel of prosecutors to reinvestigate the team of Pampanga police officers led by then Supt. Rodney Baloyo who allegedly made off with some 160 kilograms of shabu worth around P648 million.
The drugs were seized in an anti-narcotics operation on alleged Chinese drug lord Johnson Lee in 2013.
Perete said the reinvestigation would require additional evidence from both sides.
“Original sources would have to surface. It now becomes a burden on the part of the complainants to present those kinds of evidence which would be admissible in court not only in proving probable cause at the preliminary level but also for conviction in court,” Perete said.
A panel member said they are mindful of the 30-day period given by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra for them to complete their reinvestigation and said they would abide by his deadline.
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