Duterte eyeing one-star general for Albayalde’s successor at PNP

President Rodrigo Duterte could appoint a one-star general to be the new Philippine National Police chief, going outside the list of three senior officials recommended by Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, a close aide said Monday.

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Senator Christopher Go, a close aide of the President, said Duterte was having difficulty choosing a replacement for Oscar Albayalde, who resigned in the wake of a scandal linking him to so-called ninja cops, who were accused of reselling shabu seized during a 2013 drug raid.

As of Sunday night, the President had not yet made a choice, Go said.

“It’s true, what the President said—he was looking for an honest chief of the Philippine National Police. He knew that the PNP had been problematic. It’s still hard for the President,” he said.

Go said the three contenders submitted by Año, who are all qualified, are next in line given their seniority but the President has the prerogative to choose among the one-star police generals.

“The President is looking for the most honest man who can carry the PNP,” he said in a mix of Filipino and English.

Meanwhile, the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group on Monday insisted that Albayalde had direct control and supervision over the controversial 2013 drug raid in Mexico, Pampanga, carried out by the team of Supt. Rodney Baloyo IV.

Responding to an affidavit filed by Albayalde, the PNP-CIDG said that while the former police chief sought to play down the Senate Blue Ribbon committee report that recommended the filing of criminal charges against him, Albayalde said the testimony during the 

Senate hearings was enough to establish probable cause against him and the ninja cops.

“The overt acts of respondent Police General Albayalde, as then acting provincial director, Pampanga Police Provincial Office, [were] clear. He had direct control and supervision over the operation of respondent Supt. Baloyo and his team at Lakeshore, Mexico, Pampanga as of 23 November 2013 until he was administratively relieved on 26 March 2014,” it said.

Albayalde maintained that he was administratively relieved as provincial director of Pampanga and placed on floating status on March 26, 2014, but the CIDG said this was already four months after the large quantity of illegal drugs reportedly went missing.

“Albayalde was fully informed about every detail that was happening during the raid, including, but not limited to the marked money, pre-arranged signal, suspects’ arrest and confiscation of suspected shabu placed in one open luggage and one medium size box, the cash money amounting to P300,000 and the marked money amounting to P100,000,” the CIDG said.

“Despite knowledge of the irregularities in the said operations, he remained mum and even applauded respondents Supt. Baloyo and his team for a job well done,” it said.

The PNP-CIDG also argued that the dismissal of the criminal case against Chinese national Ding Wenkun and Roel Cabag strengthened the allegations allegedly committed by the respondents in the case.

Reports said Baloyo’s team originally arranged a raid against Korean drug trafficker Johnson Lee in a house he was renting in Woodbridge Subdivision in Mexico, Pampanga, but the 13 policemen allegedly released Lee in exchange for 160 kilos of shabu worth P648 million, P50 million in cash and new sports utility vehicles. In his stead, the raiding team presented Ding Wengkun as the suspect.

During Monday’s fourth preliminary investigation, the DOJ panel of prosecutors said out of the 13 original respondents and Albayalde, only nine were present: Police Senior Inspector Joven de Guzman Jr., Senior Police Officer 1 Jules Maniago, SPO1 Rommel Muñoz Vital, SPO1 Dante Dizon, SPO1 Eligio Valeroso, Police Officer 3 Dindo Dizon, PO3 Gilbert de Vera, PO3 Romeo Guerrero Jr., and Police Officer 2 Anthony Lacsamana.

Neither Albayalde nor Baloyo were present.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government earlier said there was not enough proof to charge Albayalde administratively but said he is liable for command responsibility.  With PNA

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Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , Philippine National Police , Eduardo Año , Christopher Go
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