Drug war loses credibility amid controversy involving PNP chief — Drilon
MANILA, Philippines — The drug war being waged by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is losing its credibility in the wake of the “ninja cops” controversy involving no less than Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Wednesday.
Drilon said Albayalde being dragged in the irregular anti-drug operation in Pampanga in 2013 when he was provincial director has already “tarnished” his stint as PNP chief, a month before he retires on November 8.
He described the claim of former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group director and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong against Albayalde in the Senate hearing on Tuesday as a “very serious allegation.”
“Given the ‘tokhang’ campaign, which has killed thousands of people and supposedly drug dealers, the drug campaign loses its credibility when you hear of these allegations between high-ranking officials of the PNP,” Drilon said in an interview with reporters.
“I don’t really know what he can do. His credibility is tarnished one month before he retires,” he said of Albayalde.
The senator said he finds the 2016 phone call of Albayalde to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino, who was then Central Luzon police chief, to be “very improper.”
During the Senate hearing on Tuesday, Albayalde said he only made the phone call to ask Aquino of the status of the case, which Aquino later confirmed before Senate reporters.
“Pero ang nakiusap na huwag muna i-implement [But Albayalde’s request for Aquino not to implement it yet] is something in substance that I remember to be the narration of Gen. Aquino of his telephone conversation with Gen. Albayalde,” said Drilon, referring to the supposed revelation of Aquino in an earlier meeting with him and Sen. Richard Gordon.
But Drilon said he is “not prepared to conclude that there was substantial change in the statement” of Aquino during the Senate investigation.
“What I am prepared to say is that there was some very clear hesitancy to repeat what he told us,” said Drilon. “He said what he said during the open hearing, although we noticed already some hesitancy during the public hearing.”
He said he was “certainly” disappointed with Aquino’s sudden change of tone since he thinks the PDEA chief was “more forthright” during their meeting.
“I see Magalong to be the most credible of the three. When I was talking to Aquino, he appeared credible to me, except that, apparently, he was under pressure to reveal his narration,” Drilon concluded. /jpv
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