Some senators divided over Albayalde’s fate in drug recycling mess

Marje Pelayo   •   October 2, 2019   •   622

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Police General Oscar Albayalde

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate is divided about the fate of PNP Chief Police Director Oscar Albayalde amid the controversial drug recycling issue.

Blue Ribbon Committee Chair Senator Richard Gordon said he is not contented with Albayalde’s explanation during Tuesday’s Senate inquiry on the matter.

The senator said the PNP chief should consider quitting his current position even ahead of his retirement in November.

“Kapag hindi niya naipaliwanag iyan, (If he fails to explain it,) he should consider resigning,” Gordon said.

Gordon said they already have prior meetings with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Chief (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino including Senator Franklin Drilon prior to the inquiry.

Gordon said Aquino mentioned Albayalde’s alleged meddling in the dismissal of 13 Pampanga policemen or the so-called ninja cops who were under then former Central Luzon Chief Albayalde.

“Nasa harapan ko si Senator Drilon noong sinabi niya yan, na tinawagan siya ni Albayalde para hindi na niya pirmahan ang report,” Gordon said of the conversation which Drilon confirmed.

(Senator Drilon was in front of me when he [Aquino] mentioned that Albayalde called him to stop him from signing the report.)

“Nakiusap na huwag munang i-implement (He [Albayalde] asked [Aquino] not to implement the order) is something in substance that I remember to the narration of General Aquino of his conversation on the telephone with General Albayalde,” the senator said.

Drilon also noticed a change in Aquino’s manner of speaking during the Senate inquiry as compared to how he spoke during their meeting.

But for Senate President Vicente Sotto III, there is nothing to be concerned about Albayalde as PNP chief.

“In the course of his incumbency, wala namang ganoong isyu, (there is no issue like that,)” Sotto said.

“Wala naman tayong masamang tinapay na nakita kay (We have nothing against) Director General Albyalde,” he added.

Albayalde maintains that he did not influence the case involving the said ninja cops though he admitted that he simply asked about the progress of the investigation from Aquino as requested by the families of the 13 cops. – MNP (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

Cascolan named as next PNP chief

Robie de Guzman   •   September 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Police Lieutenant General Camilo Cascolan has been chosen as the next chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Interior Secretary Eduardo Año confirmed to UNTV on Tuesday.

In a phone interview, Año said President Rodrigo Duterte signed Cascolan’s appointment papers on Tuesday afternoon.

“Wala pa akong kopya (appointment paper) pero 100% sure na ‘yun,” he said.

Cascolan will be replacing outgoing PNP chief General Archie Gamboa when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56 on Wednesday.

Prior to his designation to the PNP’s top post, Cascolan had been the second-in-command as the deputy chief for administration.

He also served as temporary caretaker of the police force after Gamboa was injured in a helicopter crash.

Cascolan was co-author of PNP’s flagship program, Oplan Double Barrel, under the government’s war against drugs.

Cascolan will only have a short stint as PNP chief as he is set to retire in November. The president, however, has the prerogative to extend Cascolan’s term.

Next PNP Chief: DILG’s Año to recommend 5 names to Duterte

Robie de Guzman   •   August 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año is set to submit to President Rodrigo Duterte his shortlist of candidates to be the next chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

In an exclusive interview with UNTV News, Año said his list would consist of five names – three of them are three-star generals and are members of the PNP command group. The remaining two would be two-star and one-star generals but he has yet to pick the names of those he will recommend to the president.

“Sa ngayon, pare-parehas sila eh. Pero for sure, yung mga 3-star [generals] kasama yan sa ire-recommend ko. Pag-aaralan ko pa yung mga 2-star at 1-star na pwede isama sa listahan but I will submit five names,” he said.

Año said he will submit the list at least a week before the mandatory retirement of PNP chief General Archie Gamboa.

Gamboa will bow out of the police service when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56 on September 3.

“Normally, mga two weeks to one week before magsusubmit na ulit ako ng pangalan sa Pangulong Duterte kung sino mga ire-recommend ko, pero ibig sabihin naman nun, ang Pangulong Duterte pwedeng pumili anybody from one-star to three-star,” the DILG chief said.

Whoever will be chosen from the five would inherit a PNP that is among the country’s frontliners in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

All generals in the police force are eligible to be promoted to the police’s top post. The president may also choose a general outside the shortlist given by Año to be his next police chief.

When asked about the possible extension of Gamboa’s term as PNP chief amid the public health crisis, Año replied with: “Palagay ko naman wala na siguro kasi bawal naman ang extension kasi, so we have to follow the law,” he said. “Ang organization naman kasi dynamic, naka-lay out naman dyan ang direction plans kahit naman sino umupo diyan, itutuloy nya lang yung programs.”

Among the three-star generals and members of command group of the PNP are deputy chief for administration Lieutenant General Camilo Cascolan, deputy chief for operations Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, and chief directorial staff Lieutenant General Cesar Hawthorne Binag.

Cascolan belongs to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Sinagtala Class of 1986, while both Eleazar and Binay belong to PMA Hinirang Class of 1987.

Cascolan will retire in November 2020, Eleazar in November 2021, and Binag in April 2021.

Meanwhile, among the two-star and one-star generals whose names might get picked on for the top police post are directorate for operations director Major General Emmanuel Licup, National Capital Region Police Office director Major General Debold Sinas, and Police Regional Office 4A director Brigadier General Vicente Danao Jr.

Both Licup and Sinas belong to the PMA Hinirang class of 1987 while Danao belongs to the PMA Sambisig Class of 1991. – RRD (from the report of Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Gordon bats for reopening of Subic Airport for OFW repatriation efforts

Robie de Guzman   •   June 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ricard Gordon has renewed his call for the reopening of the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) to accommodate flights carrying repatriating overseas Filipino workers (OFW) amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

In a statement on Sunday, Gordon pointed out that the Subic Airport is “very suitable” for receiving arriving OFWs because it has facilities for the accommodation, testing, and quarantine of repatriates.

He also said that the newly opened Philippine Red Cross molecular laboratory in Subic and Clark can also accommodate a combined capacity for running up to 4,000 tests a day.

Gordon noted that more than 300,000 OFWs are expected to arrive in the next three to four months, and diverting flights carrying repatriates to SBIA would help facilitate their testing and immediate travel to their respective provinces after their test results have been released.

“Kahapon kinausap ko si Sec. Art Tugade at sabi ko Art, matagal ka nang nangangako sa kin, buksan mo na ‘yung airport ng Subic para diyan maglanding ‘yung ibang OFWs para ma-test na sila kaagad-agad,” he said.

Gordon also said that arriving ships carrying Filipino seafarers can dock at the Subic seaport.

“Dati sa Manila Bay sila nagte-test, ang hirap pumasok. Sa Subic, kalmado ang tubig kaya mas madaling pasukin ng Coast Guard ‘yung mga barko para makapag-swab sila sa mga seafarers,” he said.

Gordon further said that using the SBIA for OFW repatriation efforts could jumpstart the resumption of its operations for international flights and reactivate its tourism industry.

“Once we have tested everybody here we can advertise to the whole world, ‘we have already tested all the employees here, we have tested everyone here so now you are welcome to come down here.’ And jobs can be generated right away,” he said.

Gordon said a P500-million budget has been allocated in the 2019 budget for the rehabilitation of the SBIA.

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