Albayalde quits early as PNP Chief

Marje Pelayo   •   October 14, 2019   •   348

PNP chief police general Oscar Albayalde

MANILA, Philippines – Amid the controversy implicating him in the drug recycling scheme involving ninja cops, outgoing Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Oscar Albayalde on Monday (October 14) announced his decision to step down from his post.

“After careful thought and deliberation, I have come to the decision to relinquish my post as chief (of the) PNP effective today and go on a non-duty status,” he said in a statement.

“I have submitted my letter of intent to Secretary Año which he accepted and favorably endorsed to the President,” he added.

In the statement, Albayalde said he had a conversation with Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año about the Senate investigation on the ‘agaw bato’ operation that happened in 2013 to which he is being linked as he was the provincial police director of Pampanga during that time.

Albayalde said Año accepted his letter of intent to resign from his post which the DILG Secretary accepted and endorsed to President Rodrigo Duterte.

Albayalde was supposed to retire on his 56th birthday on November 8, 2019 when he reaches the mandatory retirement age.

He said his non-duty status “will pave the way for the appointment of (his) replacement” in the PNP.

With this development, Police Lt. Gen.  Archie Gamboa is expected to take over as the PNP’s officer in charge. – MNP (with details from April Cenedoza)

Solons probe on missing P20M reward money in Batocabe slay case

Marje Pelayo   •   November 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – When AKO Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his police escort PO3 Rolando Diaz were murdered on December 22, 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte offered P20 million reward for the capture of the assailants.

In addition, Batocabe’s colleagues in the House of Representatives (HOR) collectively gave P13 million, while the Albay Provincial Government sent out P2 million, making the overall amount of cash bounty to P35 million pesos.

But during the inquiry of the House Committee on Public Accounts on Wednesday (November 20), PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Dir. P/BGen. Joel Coronel revealed that only P13M from the said amount were handed to the CIDG and the Intelligence Group which they distributed to credible witnesses in the crime.

From the said amount, P6M was given to witness Emmanuel Judavar and to seven other witnesses who requested anonymity.

Two of them received P2M each, another two received P1M each, one witness received P500,000, and another two witnesses received P250,000 each.

But the CIDG couldn’t present a breakdown of the distribution of the P20M cash reward that the President provided.

Coronel said the money, which they believed was received by then PNP Chief now-retired General Oscar Albayalde, was not turned over to them.

“The records of the distribution and liquidation of which were submitted directly to the Office of the President and I do not have the record, it did not pass through the CIDG,” explained Coronel when asked by Senator Koko Pimentel as to what happened to the reward money.

Pimentel argued that the said amount must be liquidated because it came from the Office of the President, therefore, it is ‘tax money.’

In response to a text message from UNTV, Albayalde sternly denied that he accepted the missing reward money.

“Lahat iyan na kay CIDG at IG. Wala akong hinawakan na reward money! Huwag nilang hanapin sa akin yan! (They are with CIDG and IG. I did not accept any reward money! They shouldn’t ask me that),” he said in a text message.

AKO Bicol Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. did not buy CIDG’s argument thus he said he is determined to push through with the investigation.

“We have a second hearing wherein former Chief PNP will be invited at ang tatlo pang (and the three other) witnesses na nakatanggap ng (who also received cash) bounty, at ang PD ng (as well as the Police Director of) Albay, Col Asueta to shed light on the P2-million,” Garbin said.

“Three suspects din sila (They are considered three of the suspects) and we have to confirm on them kung magkano talaga ang kanilang na-receive (how much they really received),” he added.

During the inquiry earlier today (November 21), lawmakers agreed that General Albayalde should also be subpoenaed and be cited in contempt should he refused to appear in the next hearing.

The recent retraction of the three suspects favoring former Daraga Albay Mayor Carlwyn Baldo dismayed the late Batocabe’s son Atty. Justin Batocabe.

The younger Batocabe suspected that money is working behind their backs.

“Iyan na nga po ang nakakabahala dyan. Nasulot (That’s what I was expecting. They were swayed to pull back),” he said.

“Ang balita sa akin ay nabayaran daw para bumaliktad at tinakot and at the same time binigyan ng abogado (I was informed that they were bribed to retract their statements and they were even provided with lawyers),” he said referring to the suspects. – MNP (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Raps vs. Albayalde, 13 ninja cops submitted for resolution

Marje Pelayo   •   November 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has closed the trial on the charges filed against former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde and 13 policemen tagged as ninja cops.

The case is now submitted for resolution and the DOJ panel will release the resolution once it finds probable cause to pursue with the charges.

Albayalde and 13 other cops are facing corruption charges and violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 due to an anomalous drug raid in Mexico, Pampanga in 2013 where the cops allegedly ‘recycled’ the confiscated illegal drugs.

Albayalde denied the allegations and claimed that the case should be dismissed.

He was the Provincial Director of Pampanga Police when the controversial anti-drug operations happened.

No basis to file administrative raps vs Albayalde over ‘ninja cops’ issue – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   November 6, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday said it has found no substantial evidence to file an administrative complaint against former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Oscar Albayalde.

This is in relation to the alleged anomalies in a 2013 drug raid conducted by 13 Pampanga police officers, tagged as “ninja cops” for allegedly pilfering and recycling part of the illegal drugs they confiscated during the operation.

Albayalde was the provincial police head when the controversial operation occurred.

“Albayalde is liable for command responsibility; that is why he was relieved as Pampanga Provincial Director in 2014,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.

“However, since he already relinquished his post as chief of PNP, he can no longer be relieved of his position at this time,” he added.

Albayalde relinquished his post and went on a non-duty status on Oct. 14 following allegations of his involvement in the anomalous raid.

He is set to retire from police service on Friday, Nov. 8.

The PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group included Albayalde as among the respondents in its amended referral complaint about the “ninja cops” issue.

Año said the cases against Albayalde will be up to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Ombudsman.

As to the 13 “ninja cops,” the DILG chief said new administrative charges will be filed in light of the new evidence gathered against them.

“The filing of new administrative charges against these Ninja cops is in light of new evidence gathered by the Joint DILG-Napolcom Review Committee as well as those that came out during the Senate Investigation,” Año said.

“The President has given his guidance to the DILG to pursue the administrative cases against the 13 Ninja cops which we have already started,” he added.

The DILG said the charges being pursued against these cops include serious irregularity in the performance of duty, dishonesty and grave misconduct.

These cops are also facing criminal charges before the DOJ.

“The charges to be filed against them will not be for the same offenses for which they were charged in the past. Moreover, the complaining witness this time will be the Napolcom which is vested with competent jurisdiction on the matter, hence, res judicata will not apply,” DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in a statement.

Malaya said that the Joint Review Committee subpoenaed 21 persons composed of personalities who testified at the Senate.

The committee also reviewed documentary evidence consisting of the transcript of stenographic notes from the Senate hearings, as well as pertinent documents related to the 2013 Lakeshore incident.

Año also said that the National Police Commission has convened a Summary Hearing board to hear the charges against the alleged ninja cops.

He added that the summary dismissal proceedings against the respondents can be completed within 45 calendar days “without violating their right to due process.”

“Pending the resolution of their cases, the respondents will be placed under restrictive custody at Camp Crame,” he said.

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