Albayalde, Panelo say hazing should be considered a heinous crime

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2019   •   226

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde on Monday said that hazing should be considered a heinous crime and should never be tolerated.

Albayalde made the statement following the death of fourth-class cadet Darwin Dormitorio at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) due to hazing last Sept. 18.

“Hazing is a heinous crime,” Albayalde told reporters in a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

The PNP chief added that hazing is a planned activity usually conducted as a rite of passage to a certain group.

“Hazing is basically plain and simple murder,” he said.

Albayalde also admitted during the press briefing that he himself was subjected to hazing when he was also a PMA cadet. Albayalde is a member of the PMA Sinagtala Class of 1986.

However, the PNP chief stressed that hazing should never be tolerated and is punishable under the Republic Act No. 11053 or the Anti-Hazing law.

“Hazing was never tolerated especially now that we have hazing laws,” he said.

Albayalde’s remarks follow the statement of Cagayan de Oro District Representative Rufus Rodriguez that there is a possibility that hazing will be included in the list of heinous crimes to prevent further incidents.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo agreed with the proposal, saying this will stop the culture of hazing.

“I’m suggesting that there must be a law that will make the heads like the PMA accountable criminally, tigil yan, alam mo pag ginawa mong criminally subject sila sa prosecution, I don’t think magkakaroon pa ng hazing kahit sa mga fraternity,” he said.

The issue of hazing in some organizations had been put under spotlight again following the death of Dormitorio.

Authorities have identified three suspects in the crime, two were considered persons of interest while nine others were named witnesses.

The Philippine Military Police and the PNP-Baguio have assured to file appropriate charges against the suspects when their investigation is concluded. – RRD (with details from Correspondent April Cenedoza)

Senate panel recommends charges vs. ex-PNP Chief Albayalde, 13 ninja cops

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2019

(L-R) Former PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde and Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chair Sen. Richard Gordon.

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee announced on Friday (October 18) the first part of its investigation on the agaw-bato scheme against alleged ninja cops.

In the 39-page committee report, the Senate panel noted some irregularities in the conduct of the buy-bust operation by the 13 involved cops in November 2013.

The committee said the buy bust team headed by Major Rodney Baloyo failed to account all illegal drugs seized from the operation.

The Senate panel said the involved policemen also took several kilos from what they had actually seized.

All of these circumstances, the panel said, violated the provision of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 which face lifetime imprisonment apart from fines and dismissal from service.

The Committee also believes that former PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde benefited from the drug recycling scheme.

The report also cited Albayalde’s phone call to former CIDG Region 3 Deputy Director retired General Rudy Lacadin and PDEA chief Aaron Aquino to allegedly block the dismissal of the involved cops, was a clear violation of the law.

“Nakita ninyo talagang it’s a comedy of lies and errors. Hindi errors, sinasadya iyan,” said Blue Ribbon Committee chair Richard Gordon.

These findings prompted the committee in its report to recommend graft and corruption charges against Albayalde and the 13 cops.

“Lahat sila (All of them) – Albayalde, Baloyo, the other people in the group (who participated in the raid) are guilty. I’m not saying guilty of malfeasance. Mali ang ginawa nila (What they did was wrong,)” Gordon concluded. — MNP (with details from Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Senate asks DOJ for protection of witnesses vs. ‘ninja cops’

Maris Federez   •   October 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Wednesday (Oct. 16) requested the Department of Justice (DOJ) to give protection to the witnesses in the Agaw-Bato operations of the so-called “ninja cops”.

In a phone interview, Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Sen. Richard Gordon said they want to ensure that the testimonies of the witnesses are filed before the Court.

“[It] means that they will go to the court and they will execute an affidavit there. And in which case, if anything happens, hopefully not, that will be admissible in court,” Gordon added.

Among the witnesses that Gordon was referring to were the barangay officials that Johnson Lee sought help from when he was arrested in the police buy-bust operation in November 2010 in the province of Pampanga.

Other witnesses were the police personnel in Mexico, Pampanga, where the alleged cover-up took place when the barangay officials brought Lee to the station.

Lee reportedly paid P50-M to the police for his release.

After releasing Lee, the police arrested another Chinese suspect.

Gordon said they will leave it to the DOJ to determine whether these officers deserve to be under the government’s witness protection program (WPP).

The senator also said they will let Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, retired police Rudy Lacadin, and the other police officers decide if they want to undergo the said process.

Justice Sec. Guevarra said they shall await the Senate’s formal request before they set into action.

Meanwhile, Gordon said they will try their best to complete the committee report on their investigation on the said illegal operation in the police force.

The Blue Ribbon Committee chairman said that included in the report are the possible recommendations as to who must be held liable on the said illegal activity.

He stressed that resigned-Philippine National Police (PNP) chief PGen. Oscar Albayalde will still be facing charges relative to the said controversy.

“Tanungin ninyo ako kung pwede pa siyang kasuhan (Ask me if he can be charged). The answer is yes. Tanungin ninyo ko kung criminal. (Ask me if it’s a criminal [case]).  The answer could be yes, kung may enough evidence kami (if we have enough evidence). And I think we do,” Gordon said. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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

Marje Pelayo   •   October 15, 2019

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)

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