Due to some “vital changes,” the Senate deferred Thursday night the release of the report of its investigation into the illicit drug trade of the “ninja cops
,” which triggered the resignation of Philippine National Police Chief General Oscar Albayalde
, who was tagged as their protector.
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Senate justice and Blue Ribbon committees chairman Senator Richard Gordon described as “hard hitting” the commitee report, which detailed the recycling of confiscated drugs and switching of arrested drug suspects by the “ninja cops.”
Gordon earlier said the panel would recommend charges against Albayalde but did not elaborate.
At least three senators believe there is sufficient evidence to charge Albayalde for corruption in the ninja cops case.
Gordon and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the evidence was strong enough to warrant the filing of charges against Albayalde.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said the additional testimony and documents, particularly from former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group deputy chief Rudy Lacadin reinforced the other circumstantial evidence from previous hearings.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo denied Thursday Gordon’s statement that he was acting as Albayalde’s “de facto counsel” and spokesperson.
Gordon said Panelo’s remarks that the hearings produced only hearsay disrespected the Senate.
“I precisely made clear that I was not lawyering for General Albayalde but was only expressing my personal views as a lawyer on a particular subject that I was queried about,” Panelo said.
“I stated at the outset that I was doing so with all due respect to the resource persons who were accusing General Albayalde of wrongdoings, as well as to my government colleagues in the Senate,” he added.
He also said that his remark was an “honest assessment of a public proceeding” and was an exercise of free speech.
“I categorically explained on national television that it is within the Senate’s mandate, as well as its duty to conduct investigations to ferret out the truth of a controversy ...to aid them in legislating and crafting instrumental laws of our land,” he added.
Albayalde stepped down as chief of the 190,000-strong police force on Monday as he fought off allegations that he had protected his men accused of selling seized narcotics.
Retired generals Benjamin Magalong and Rudy Lacadin alleged that Albayalde tried to stop their dismissal on charges filed against his men, who conducted a 2013 drug raid in Pampanga, then kept 160 kilos of seized shabu to resell.
Albayalde denied the allegations but later stepped down as PNP chief four weeks ahead of his retirement. With MJ Blancaflor
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