The filing of criminal cases against former Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde shows that the government does not condone wrongdoings committed by members of the police force.
“It’s a good thing. That’s a good development. To me, this will promote and this will spell the difference between justice and no justice at all,” National Police Commission vice chairman Rogelio Casurao said on ANC’s Dateline on Saturday.
Albayalde, who resigned in October amid allegations he protected his men accused of reselling confiscated drugs in a Pampanga raid in 2013, has been given a chance to state his case, Casurao said.
“On the part of Gen. Albayalde, it’s his chance to prove his innocence if ever he’s innocent of these charges,” he said. “On the other hand, the prosecution arm of government is doing its part by not condoning what happened during the November 2013 incident in Pampanga.”
Albayalde was chief of Pampanga police when a team of officers allegedly made off with some 160 kilograms of shabu worth around P648 million, following an anti-drug operation against an alleged Chinese drug lord in November 2013.
The Department of Justice launched an investigation surrounding the case after former PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief Benjamin Magalong and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino accused Albayalde of intervening in the case during a Senate inquiry.
On Thursday, the DOJ said it found probable cause to charge Albayalde with “violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations in connection with the official duties of the latter, and for causing any undue injury to any party, including the government.”
The department, meanwhile, cleared Albayalde of charges of misappropriating confiscated drugs, falsifying public documents and failure to prosecute police officers.
The panel also found probable cause to indict 12 other police officers for several violations, including qualified bribery, planting of evidence and delay and bungling in the prosecution of drug cases, among others.
Casurao said the Napolcom, which exercises administrative powers over the PNP, has held summary hearings against the officers tagged. The commission will release its findings sometime in February.
“In fact, the case now involving these policemen in Pampanga, including Albayalde, has been looked into by Napolcom. Unfortunately, our jurisdiction is only on the administrative side of this case,” he said.
“We are very happy that finally the DOJ came up with its own findings. It’s going to be looked into now by the Office of the Ombudsman, who can look into the administrative and criminal liabilty of Gen. Albayalde,” Casurao added.