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Albayalde ‘liable’ for graft charges

Two Senate panels investigating corruption in law enforcement on Friday recommended the filing of drug and graft charges against resigned Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde and 13 of his former subordinates who were accused of reselling confiscated narcotics.

READ: 13 ninja cops face new probe

Albayalde ‘liable’ for graft charges
Former PNP Chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde
Senator Richard Gordon, who heads the justice and the Blue Ribbon committees, said testimony before his panels indicated that Albayalde at least had knowledge of the illegal drug transactions.

READ: Gordon: Senate report on Albayalde, ninja cops on hold

Gordon dismissed the denials of the so-called ninja cops as “a comedy of lies.”

A spokesman for the PNP referred any questions about Albayalde to his legal counsel.

Gordon noted that Albayalde had called several police officials, including Aaron Aquino, who is now director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and Rudy Lacadin, formerly of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, to get them to drop the dismissal of his men.

“There is a very, very strong case for graft against former police chief Oscar Albayalde,” Gordon said.

“He is liable for anti-graft and that would be up to Ombudsman or DOJ [Department of Justice], by reason of his seniority, his moral superiority, his competence,” said Gordon in a media briefing.

“He would not have become a general if he knew nothing,” Gordon added in Filipino. “I think he is very liable.”

He said Albayalde, who was director of Pampanga Police Provincial Office at the time of the operation, tried to convince Lacadin and Aquino not to act on the dismissal of the ninja cops, “constituting a violation of rules and regulations.”

“When they make a mistake, they must be removed, they must be taken out of the police force so they won’t be emulated, so they can’t steal,” Gordon said.

Gordon added that Albayalde could even be a principal, since his men were emboldened by his protection.

Gordon also said Albayalde should have checked on his men while the raid was being executed, checked on the suspects arrested as well as the address and the owner of the house raided, and demanded a detailed report.

Albayalde resigned Oct. 14, four weeks shy of his retirement, after he was linked to the ninja cops scandal.

But Gordon said Albayalde’s resignationt will not exclude him from accountability.

The senator said the probe into the scandal had gathered enough evidence to prompt the President to order the Department of Justice to bring complaints against Albayalde and the 13 policemen.

He said Albayalde and the 13 “ninja cops composed of Police Major Rodney Baloyo IV, Sr. Insp. Joven de Guzman Jr., SPO1 Jules Maniago, SPO1 Ronald Santos, SPO1 Donald Roque, SPO1 Rommel Vital, SPO1 Alcinador Tinio, PO3 Dindo Dizon, PO3 Gilbert De Vera, PO3 Romeo Guerrero, PO2 Anthony Loleng Lacsamana, SPO1 Eligio Valeroso, and SPO1 Dante Dizon have been entangled in a ‘comedy of lies and errors.’”

The 13 were members of the Provincial Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operation Task Force of the Pampanga Provincial Police Office.

In the committee report, Gordon said Baloyo and his “merry men” also face violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act with a possible penalty of life imprisonment.

Gordon’s committee also recommended the filing of violation of Sec. 29 of the same law for planting of evidence; robbery; unlawful arrest and violation of the Civil Code Article 31 for impairing the rights and liberties of another person.

He said the report will be forwarded to the DOJ and the Ombudsman.

The DOJ has created a special panel of prosecutors to conduct the reinvestigation of the criminal complaint filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. against Police Major Rodney Baloyo IV and 12 other so-called “ninja cops” involved in the questionable 2013 anti-illegal drugs operation in Mexico, Pampanga.

“This report will surely be useful in the reinvestigation of the alleged drug recycling and ninja cops case currently being conducted by the DOJ,” Guevarra said, referring to the Senate committee report.

“Any relevant evidence presented during the Senate hearings may be adopted or presented by any interested party during the DOJ reinvestigation,” he added.

The special panel of prosecutors is composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Alexander Suarez who sits as the chairman and Assistant State Prosecutors Josie Christina Dugay and Gino Paulo Santiago.

The panel begun hearings Wednesday.

In its complaint, the PNP-CIDG accused the 13 policemen of violating Republic Act 9165 (the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002), particularly Sections 27 (misappropriation), 29 (planting), and 32 (custody and disposition).

Aside from Baloyo, those named as respondents in the case are Sr. Insp. Joven Bognot de Guzman Jr., SPO1 Jules Lacap Maniago, SPO1 Donald Castro Roque, SPO1 Ronald Bayas Santos, SPO1 Rommel Munoz Vital, SPO1 Alcindor Mangiduyos Tinio, SPO1 Eligio Dayos Valeroso, PO3 Dindo Singian Dizon, PO3 Gilbert Angeles de Vera, PO3 Encarnacion Guerrero Jr., PO2 Anthony Loleng Lacamana, and PO3 Dante M. Dizon.

The case concerns the 2013 illegal drugs operations in Pampanga where the 13 policemen involved in the operation allegedly kept 160 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride which is locally known as shabu as well as received P50 million and new sports utility vehicles (SUVs) in exchange for the release of alleged Chinese drug trader Johnson Lee.

The case was dismissed in 2017 by prosecutors who conducted the preliminary investigation.

Albayalde ‘liable’ for graft charges
Senator Richard Gordon
The PNP-CIDG eventually appealed the dismissal before the DOJ by filing a petition for review.

READ: 'Senate can prove PNP chief's guilt'

READ: Senate to unmask ‘ninja’ cops

READ: Narco-cops worse than felons—Duterte

Topics: Oscar Albayalde , Philippine National Police , Richard Gordon , Aaron Aquino
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