Graver charges should be filed against former Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde, aside from violations of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Senator Richard Gordon said Saturday.
Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee and the Senate committeee on justice and human rights, which investigated Albayalde’s case, warned that if this will not be done, the public would view it as “molly-coddling” the former PNP chief, who was tagged in the “ninja cops” case involving illegal drugs.
The Department of Justice has filed charges against Albayalde for violating RA 3019, which is punishable by imprisonment of 1 to 10 years, perpetual disqualification from public office, confiscation or forfeiture of any prohibited interest and unexplained wealth out of proportion to his salary and other lawful income.
“It is a veritably a positive development that the DOJ recognized that Albayalde has done something wrong and wants to prosecute him,” said Gordon.
He related that Albayalde is the first PNP official who has been charged and found guilty by the Senate Blue Ribbon and now by the DOJ.
“Nevertheless, we feel that the charge is incommensurate with all the offenses he has done. If charges are made to stand as they are now, and none more serious is added, the DOJ will be seen as mollycoddling Albayalde,” said Gordon.
The report submitted after the joint hearing conducted by Gordon’s committees, which the DOJ relied on in reversing the original decision, recommended the following charges:
• Conspiracy to commit Section 27 of R.A. No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Misappropriation, Misapplication or Failure to Account Seized Drugs), which is punishable by life imprisonment to death; fine ranging from P500,000 to P10 million; absolute perpetual disqualification from any public office;
• Violation of Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code. Punishable by prision correccional in its minimum period or six months and one day to two years and four months; and
• Violation of RA 3019 Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, sections 3(a) and (e).
“We established during the hearing Albayalde’s acts of omission and commission which made him liable for the recommended charges,” he said.
“(Albayalde) committed perjury in saying that he did not know about the operation when he already issued a memo dated days before the operation was conducted,” said Gordon.
The senator said Albayalde also failed to take to task his men and even tried to use his own connections to get lighter sanctions for them by calling up various generals who also testified against him.
The police chief also committed other acts that could indict him, such as promoting his men and transferring them to choice posts “where they continued to conduct the same modus operandi,” Gordon said.
“Remember that the case is filed not merely on behalf of a single person. It is a case against the people—thus, People of the Philippines vs Albayalde. As an elected representative of the people, I urge the DOJ to take another look because the acts of Albayalde are more grave than what they are right now contemplating,” he stressed.
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