While President Duterte is hard pressed to pick a new chief of the Philippine National Police, General Oscar Albayalde must be enduring the most agonizing and “longest days” of his career.
“They’re ganging up on me,” complained Albayalde after the latest Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing, referring to the testimonies against him from at least three retired police generals, all his upperclassmen at the Philippine Military Academy.
He must feel like he is again undergoing PMA "hazing" which he had said is a “matter of perception” and which helped shape him to what he is today.
On Monday, Albayalde said he was “relinquishing his post” and going on non-duty status. And with less than a month to his retirement this coming November 8, he can only wish that the “next big thing” happens to hog the headlines in place of the ninja cops scandal.
After all, that has been trend in the arena of public opinion—one controversy, after the other, catching the people's short attention span. So, would this be just another case “whiff of corruption” that people would lost interest in another day or two?
Unfortunately, the news about a Taiwanese lady walking around Boracay naked with only “string bikini” that barely covered her private parts was not enough to bury the ninja cops controversy.
In fairness to Albayalde, he has denied the imputations that he coddled and protected the 13 ninja cops under his command when he was Provincial Police Office commander in Pampanga in 2013 during which the cops looted multi-million peso worth of shabu seized from a Chinese drug dealer, Johnson Lee.
The case was unearthed during the testimony of former CIDG chief General Ben Magalong on the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) parole program, under which hundreds of drug lords and drug dealers were released from prison by corrupt Bureau of Corrections officials.
Albayalde strongly denied making that “ala-Garci phone call” to former Region 3 Police Office chief and now PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino, interceding on behalf of the 13 cops being subjected to summary dismissal.
He also denied enjoying material gain from his men’s illegal drugs “recycling” operations despite allegations that he was one of those gifted with luxury SUVs after the questionable release of the suspect.
He also denied making similar “ala-Garci phone call” to former Region 3 Police Officer chief General Rudy Lacadin who replaced Aquino, also admitting “Kaunti lang naman napunta sa akin dyan
It surfaced that there have been other previous Ninja “hulidap
” operations by Alvayalde's men headed by P/Major Rodney Baloyo, who has been ordered detained by the Senate for contempt.
It is important to note that Albayalde must be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law though Senator Dick Gordon is convinced there is prima facie versus Albayalde.
But, just like the dismissal case of his 13 ninja cops, his case will have to drag on until after he retires in a month, and he will have to bear with the stigma of being a ninja general.
Meanwhile, there are at least three frontrunners vying for the top PNP post, all decorated generals.
We cannot overemphasize the need for an honest officer and a gentleman with unblemished record to lead the 190,000-strong PNP, not ninja cops.
And, as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee veered away from the probe on the GCTA, another ninja general seems to be enjoying his retirement out of public eye.
He is responsible for the missing P7 billion-plus worth of shabu smuggled through the Bureau of Customs and eventually became the Godfather of the drug lords and drug dealers released from the national prisons.