The major revamp in the Philippine National Police after the so-called “ninja cops” controversy
has caused a stir among police officials, PNP spokesman Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac admitted on Wednesday.
READ: PNP brass on 3-month probation amid scandal
“Some were saddened and felt disappointment, but this is but part of our career development, and we can adjust immediately to these things,” Banac told reporters. “All positions are important in the PNP, and when the leadership sees the need for movement, everybody is expected to follow through.”
The reshuffle, as ordered by PNP officer-in-charge Police Lieutenant General Archie Francisco Gamboa in the wake of a Senate inquiry into ninja cops, involved two major generals, 17 brigadier generals, and two colonels.
This developed as Senator Francis Pangilinan many pieces of circumstantial evidence pointed to the fact that resigned PNP chief Oscar Albayalde
was in cahoots with the ninja cops in Pampanga, where he was once provincial police chief.
As uncovered in the Senate hearings, the ninja cops were accused of “recycling” confiscated illegal drugs and “switching” of arrested drug suspects, Pangilinan noted.
Meanwhile, the three contenders to replace Albayalde all said they were open to lifestyle checks and agreed to leave it up to President Rodrigo Duterte to conduct such a check on them if warranted.
Gamboa, in an ambush interview at Camp Crame, said the Office of the President was responsible for vetting who will be the next PNP chief.
“Whatever is the suggestion of the public on how the President should choose the next chief PNP, I suggest we respect the President, should it include lifestyle or any other kind of vetting,” he said.
READ: Cops close ranks for chief, ‘ninjas’
Asked on the same issue, Police Lieutenant General Camilo Pancratius Cascolan simply replied: “Whatever.”
Police Major General Guillermo Eleazar, most recently chief of Metro Manila police, also said a lifestyle check was “no problem.”
Gamboa had said he was expecting “fresh ideas, fresh enthusiasm, and fresh resolve” from police commanders following the revamp, as Duterte expressed dismay with the supposed involvement of police officials in reselling drug recycling scheme.
Despite the disappointment of some police officers, Banac assured the public the entire PNP still supports Gamboa and his programs.
At the Senate, Pangilinan said he would sign the Senate Blue Ribbon and Justice committees’ report, which recommended the filing of graft charges against the former PNP chief and his 13 men in Pampanga.
“I agree that Albayalde was liable,” said the opposition lawmaker of the report from the committees, both chaired by Senator Richard Gordon.
Pangilinan criticized Albayalde on merely saying he was a victim of politics instead of answering the accusations against him.
“He was not answering. Why did he resort to a cover-up? Was it true that he stopped their dismissal? He did not answer,” said the senator, also a lawyer.
Albayalde reportedly called fellow police general Aaron Aquino, now the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief, and asked him to stop the dismissal of the anti-drugs operatives of the Pampanga Provincial Police, which conducted the drug bust at the house of suspected drug lord Johnson Lee in Mexico, Pampanga in November 2013.
Pangilinan cited the “blanket denial” raised by Albayalde to clear himself of any liability over the irregular drug raid.
Meanwhile, after the report on the ninja cops, Pangilinan wants to see the Senate report on the Good Conduct Time Allowance law to determine the accountability of sacked Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon.
“I want to know when will the GCTA report be out. This matter was taken up first, so this is very important. I hope the GCTA report will be made public which should include Faeldon’s complicity,” he said.
Faeldon was grilled for the alleged wrongful release of heinous crime convicts through the said law, which prompted President Duterte to fire Faeldon.
Pangilinan also believes Faeldon should be held accountable just like Albayalde.
READ: Gordon: Senate report on Albayalde, ninja cops on hold
READ: Rody to ‘ninja’ cops: I could be more evil
READ: 'Senate can prove PNP chief's guilt'