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How PNP chief got linked to ninja cops

14 October 2019

Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde 

By Leo A. Deocadiz

Barely a month before his retirement as chief of the Philippine National Police, Oscar Albayalde was having difficulty shaking off accusations he covered up for his erring men when he was provincial commander in Pampanga in 2013, on a case close to the government’s heart: drugs. Or, to follow the questioning in several Senate hearings, the recycling and resale of hundreds of millions of pesos worth of drugs that these so-called ninja cops seized in buy-bust operations and raids.

The pressure became so unbearable that, by Oct. 14 -- just 20 days before his retirement == he announced after a Monday flag-raising ceremony at Camp Crame that he would step down.

“After careful thought and deliberation, I have come to the decision to relinquish my post as Chief PNP effective today and go on a non-duty status. I have submitted my letter of intent to Secretary Año which he accepted and favorably endorsed to the President,” he said.

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“Since I am retiring compulsory on November 8, 2019, this will pave the way for the appointment of my replacement should the President so desires,” he added.
The resignation culminated more than a month of hearing at the Senate Blue Ribbon Commitee in which his former superiors testified that he interceded six years ago for his men, who were then facing dismissal.

In the Senate and subsequent media interviews, Albayalde dismissed the negative cimment on him as a defamation campaign, and blamed this on politics within PNP, and saying he was being ganged up upon. He even tried invoking the name of President Rodrigo Duterte, saying, “I enjoin everyone to move on now that the President has spoken,” after Duterte declared that he needed “clear proof” that Albayalde committed wrongdoing, and ordered a separate investigation.

But recent Senate hearings were unearthing such “proof”.

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In their testimonies before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, three of his upperclassmen at the Philippine Military Academy accused him not only of a cover-up, but also of benefiting from his men’s misdeeds.

Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong, who in 2013 was a major general and chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said Albayalde tried to influence former Central Luzon police chief and now Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency head Dir. Gen. Aaron Aquino into not implementing the dismissal of 13 police officers.

Aquino confirmed this after initially denying it, saying that Albayalde called him up to inquire if he was investigating. “But he also added during the same (phone call) request, and I quote: ‘Sir, baka pwede mo huwag mo munang i-implement ang order. Then I asked him: ‘Bakit, Oca?,’  where he answered, ‘Kasi mga tao ko sila’,” Aquino added.



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The most damaging testimony, so far, came from retired Brig. Gen. Rudy Lacadin, CIDG deputy chief at that time, who quoted Albayalde sa telling him: “Kaunti lang naman ang napunta sa akin dyan.”

Sen. Dick Gordon, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee, concluded that they had enough evidence to file a case against Albayalde.

Aquino confirmed this after initially denying it, saying that Albayalde called him up to inquire if he was investigating. “But he also added during the same (phone call) request, and I quote: ‘Sir, baka pwede mo huwag mo munang i-implement ang order. Then I asked him: ‘Bakit, Oca?’  where he answered, ‘Kasi mga tao ko sila’,” Aquino added.

The most damaging testimony, so far, came from retired Brig. Gen. Rudy Lacadin, CIDG deputy chief at that time, who quoted Albayalde sa telling him: “Kaunti lang naman ang napunta sa akin dyan.”

He denied the accusations, at one time saying he could not have possibly approached them in that  way because they were more senior.

But Sen. Dick Gordon, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee, concluded that they had enough evidence to file a case against Albayalde.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Sen. Frank Drilon, a former justice secretary, said Albayalde can be charged with neglect of duty at the least, and graft and corruption at the most. “The evidence is (so) strong that if they cannot mount a sufficient defense, then they will be convicted on the basis of what we heard,” he added.

The saga began at 10 am of Nov. 28, 2013, when 12 policemen raided a house in Mexico, Pampanga. They seized 36.68 kilos of metamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) and a P100,000 marked money.


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Their report, however, officially declared that the raid happened at 4:30 pm, in coordination with PDEA agents, as required by law. And instead of arresting the Chinese drug lord Johnson Lee, they picked up drug dealer Ding Wenkun.

Albayalde, who was then acting police chief of Pampanga, wrote a memo praising his men for the raid and recommending them, and himself, for promotion.

What attracted top PNP officials in Camp Crame to the case was that members of the team were soon seen driving around with new vehicles. The PNP Chief then, General Alan Purisima, asked Magalong to investigate.

Magalong’s investigation revealed that the actual amount of drugs was 200 kilos, and not 36.68 kilos. And drug lord Johnson Lee was indeed arrested, but was released when he paid the cops P50 million.

Magalong’s findings led to the filing of charges against the 12 plus their chief of intelligence. Albayalde was stripped of his command. The 13 were recommended for dismissal.

That was when Albayalde, who by then had become regional police chief for National Capital Region, started calling Aquino, who was Central Luzon police chief, and Lacadin. These calls hounded him until they ended his career.


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