The Department of Justice has sufficient basis to indict former Philippine National Police chief Police General Oscar Albayalde and several police officers, in connection with the alleged irregular anti-drug operation in Pampanga in 2013.
In a resolution released Thursday, the DOJ’s panel of prosecutors found probable cause to charge Albayalde with graft after finding out that he did not implement an order “which sought to penalize the police officers involved in the questioned drug operation.”
The controversial operation reportedly took place on Nov. 23, 2013 at the house being rented by large-scale Korean drug trafficker Johnson Lee at Woodbridge Subdivision, Lakeshore, Mexico, Pampanga.
The PNP raiding team allegedly released Lee in exchange for 160 kilograms of shabu worth P648 million, P50 million in cash, and brand new sport-utility vehicles.
In Lee’s stead, the police presented Chinese national Ding Wengkun as suspect instead.
Albayalde was the provincial chief of police of Pampanga when the controversial drug raid occurred.
The panel of prosecutors’ findings against Albayalde will be endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman.
“The Panel 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 DOJ said in a statement.
The panel anchored its finding on Albayalde’s non-implementation of an order that would have penalized the police officers involved in the questioned drug operation.
Aside from Albayalde, also recommended for indictment for graft were P/Supt. Rodney Raymundo Louie Juico Baloyo IV; P/Insp. Joven Bagnot De Guzman, Jr.; SPO1 Jules Lacap Maniago; SPO1 Donald Castro Roque; SPO1 Ronald Bayas Santos, SPO1 Rommel Muñoz Vital; SPO1 Alcindor Mangiduyos Tinio; PO3 Dindo Singian Dizon; PO3 Gilbert Angeles De Vera; PO3 Romeo Encarnacio Guerrero, Jr.SPO1 Eligio Dayos Valeroso; and SPO1 Dante Mercado Dizon.
Baloyo and 11 other policemen were found liable for misappropriation of confiscated drugs, planting of evidence, delay and bungling in the prosecution of drugs cases―all offenses under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
The respondents were also indicted for qualified bribery under the Revised Penal Code and for graft for causing undue injury to any party, including the government, the DOJ said.
The resolution was the result of a reinvestigation of a complaint against the “ninja cops” who allegedly failed to declare the full quantity of the drugs they seized in a Nov. 29, 2013 operation in Mexico, Pampanga and let an arrested suspect go in exchange for P55 million and an SUV.
READ: Narco-cops in two groups bared: ‘ninja liit, volt in’
The original complaint was dismissed but was ordered reinvestigated after a Senate inquiry revealed alleged anomalies in the police operation.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra assured reporters that the National Prosecution Service, an attached agency of the DOJ, will come up with the resolution on the criminal complaint filed against the police officers allegedly involved in the recycling of confiscated illegal drugs based on evidence.
Guevarra stressed that they would be fair in resolving the “ninja cops” case and would not give special treatment to anyone, including the retired PNP chief.
The secretary said they would also give weight to the evidence and sworn affidavits that were presented during the five preliminary investigation hearings.
“In the DOJ, we just go by the evidence before us. If there is strong evidence regardless of who he is, then we file the information in court. If it [evidence against an individual] is unclear or very thin arising from hearsay, uncorroborated then we disregard and we normally dismiss the case against that particular person,” Guevarra said.
READ: 2 ‘generals’ out of 9 tagged in illegal drug trade still at itREAD: Narco-cops worse than felons—Duterte
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