Albayalde likely to face graft, negligence, conspiracy charges – Gordon

Marje Pelayo   •   October 15, 2019   •   425

Former PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde (L) and Senator Richard Gordon (R)

MANILA, Philippines – Senate blue ribbon committee chair Senator Richard Gordo said they are likely to recommend charges of graft and corruption, negligence and conspiracy against resigned PNP chief Oscar Albayalde.

Gordon noted the testimony of retired general Rudy Lacadin in the previous Senate hearing which accused Albayalde of benefiting from the drug recycling controversy in Pampanga as among the main factors for the possible lawsuit against the former PNP Chief.

So even after Albayalde relinquished his position, he is not yet off the hook, according to Gordon.

“Neglect of duty, life sentences,” Gordon said.

Senator Bong Go likewise agreed that if Albayalde is found guilty of participation in the drug recycling controversy, he should be held liable in court.

“Kung may ebidensya, managot ang dapat managot (If there is evidence then he who is liable should be sued),” the senator added.

Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo Lacson believes that Albayalde no longer has the chance to clear his name because of his resignation.

Gordon believes that the testimony of former police officer Ronald Santos will shed light as to how Albayalde and the 13 ninja cops profited from the seized illegal drugs and from the vehicles used in the operations in 2013.

He considers Santos as the missing link towards the resolution of the case.

The senator said there should be strict monitoring now in the PNP which should include even the replacement of Albayalde in the PNP chief position.

“Ang kinakailangan lang ang magpapatakbo ay mahigpit. Kahit na pulis iyan, kaagad dapat ang mismong pulis, suspended ka na at ang imbestigasyon tapusin kaagad,” Gordon said.

(The chief must have an iron fist. Even if it involves a cop, that police must be suspended and the investigation should be promptly completed.)

Despite the suspension of the Senate session, Gordon said he wants his committee to push through with the inquiry this week.

Lost “moral high ground

The former PNP chief’s accuser, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, believes the mounting pressure compelled Albayalde to resign and such gesture provided a breather for the institution to move on.

“Sa tingin ko nararamdaman na rin niya ang pressure lalong lalo na sa kaniyang mga subordinates (I think he already felt the pressure especially from his subordinates),” the former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief said.

“Ikaw ba naman, hindi ka na rin gaanong pinapansin, anong mararamdaman mo? (If it were you being ignored, how would you feel?) So you lost the moral high ground to lead. Pinakamabuting gagawin ay mag-resign (The best that you can do is to resign),” Magalong added.

Magalong stressed, however, that what happened to Albayalde should not cause the public to lose trust in the PNP.

“Kokonti lang po yung may kalokohan na iyan (Only a few cops can be considered scalawags),” he said.

“Magtiwala lang tayo sa ating kapulisan, (Let us trust our police force,)” he added.

The former police officer, meanwhile, said he is ready should Albayalde decide to file countercharges against him. MNP (with details from Grace Casin, Nestor Torres,  and Grace Doctolero)

Duterte accepts resignation of DICT Usec. Eliseo Rio Jr.

Marje Pelayo   •   May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte finally accepted the resignation of Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr. from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

Rio submitted his resignation to the Office of the President on January 31 due to internal issues within the Department.

Gusto naman talaga ni Secretary Rio na mag-retire na so hinayaan na ng Pangulo na mag-retire na siya, [It was Secretary Rio’s desire to retire so the President just allowed him to do so]”, confirmed Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque on Friday (May 22).

In February, the Senate probed on the alleged irregularity in the use of the agency’s confidential funds as claimed by Rio.

READ: Senate to conduct probe on intelligence funds of government agencies

Rio spearheaded the bidding process for the third telecommunications player in response to the directive of President Duterte. 

The Palace expressed its gratitude to Rio for his service. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Baguio LGU mulls raps vs judge who allegedly interfered in drunk taxi driver’s arrest

Robie de Guzman   •   January 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The city government of Baguio on Friday said it is mulling over the possibility of filing administrative charges against a local judge who allegedly interfered in the arrest of a drunk taxi driver for purportedly attacking a police officer.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said they are studying lodging complaints against the judge, identified as Judge Roberto Mabalot of the Municipal Trial Court, Benguet Branch 1.

Magalong said a report forwarded to him by the Baguio City Police showed that Mabalot allegedly intimidated and shouted at police officers on duty to secure the immediate release of the taxi driver, identified as Jone Buclay.

“According sa report na binigay sa akin ng ating City Director na si Col. Allen Co, talagang nakialam si Judge Mabalot, in fact he acted like a private lawyer,” he said.

“The way it was explained to me, very intimidating siya and outright nailabas niya agad ung lasing na driver at naiparelease pa niya yung taxi,” he added.

On Tuesday, December 31, 2019, an internet user posted a dashcam video showing a police officer, identified as Patrolman Julius Walang designated at the Baguio City Traffic Enforcement Unit, almost run over as he tried to stop a cab driver who committed a traffic violation.

Walang accosted the cabbie and tried to issue a citation ticket for causing traffic along Abanao Street in Baguio City. But instead of stopping, the taxi moved towards the police officer who had to cling onto the cab’s hood to prevent him from fleeing.

Buclay was later on brought to the police station and determined to be under the influence of alcohol.

During Buclay’s detention, police officers on duty claimed that Judge Mabalot suddenly entered the police station and scolded them for detaining the cab driver for a traffic violation that only carries a fine as penalty.

A CCTV footage also captured Judge Mabalot arriving at the police station around 9:25 in the morning and exiting with the taxi driver in tow several minutes later.

“He was lawyering for the accused and, of course, naintimidate po ung ating mga kapulisan doon and from his own words sabi niya ay ‘fine’ lang kasi ang aanuhin,” Baguio City Police director Col. Allen Rae Co said.

“Ipinakita po ng ating kapulisan sa kanya yung positive result po nung alcohol breath test at umamin po ung tao (taxi driver) mismo na nakainom siya,” he added.

It was later learned that Buclay works for a taxi company allegedly operated by a relative of Judge Mabalot.

In a message to Magalong, the judge insists that he did not interfere with the case, and that he only acted on a request he received to check up on the taxi driver for an alleged violation of reckless driving.

“I declare that I did not at all interfere. The police will confirm this fact,” he said, adding that he only told cops that they cannot detain the driver as the penalty for reckless driving is only a fine.

He, however, did not state in his message on whether he was aware that the taxi driver had tried to run over a traffic law enforcer.

The Supreme Court’s Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), which supervises all judges and court personnel in the country, earlier said it is now checking the case.

“We would like to get all available information before we require the concerned judge to comment,” Supreme Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said.

Police said it will file multiple complaints against the taxi driver, including direct assault upon an agent of authority, resisting arrest and attempted homicide. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Grace Doctolero)

No PNP Chief yet? Duterte threatens to take over

Marje Pelayo   •   November 29, 2019

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) and former National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde (R) during the 117th Philippine National Police (PNP) police service anniversary in Quezon city, Philippines, 08 August 2018. EPA-EFE/STR

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has not decided yet as to who will assume the position vacated by former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, retired General Oscar Albayalde.

The President said he is carefully assessing the credentials of potential candidates to head the country’s main law enforcement arm.

Without an honest, corruption-free man to assume the job, the Chief Executive hinted on taking over the PNP.

“Ang akin, (for me) if they have even a single case of corruption, wala na, (it’s a no), you’re out,” the President warned.

“I would rather not appoint anybody for that matter. Ako na ang hahawak noon (I will take over). I will be the one directing the guidance and direction,” he added.

The President previously said he wants to be conscientious in choosing the next chief of the national police following controversies that tainted the credibility of Albayalde in relation to his alleged involvement with the so-called ninja cops or drug recycling issue that compelled him to resign.

President Duterte acknowledged, meanwhile, that there are a lot of things within the PNP that needs improvement and overhaul.

“But verily itong pulis maraming problema, pati generals nila kasali sa droga (Verily I say these policemen are the problems themselves, even their generals are involved in drugs),” the Chief Executive noted.

“Iyan ang ayaw ko diyan, pati generals. Hindi lumabas iyan hanggang hindi ako naging president (That’s what I hate, that even the generals [are involved]. Not until I became president that this was exposed),” he added. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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