Albayalde sees PNP politics behind ‘ninja cops’ controversy
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde on Friday said he could not think of any reason to drag him into the “ninja cops” controversy except for politics in the PNP.
“I am retiring. Who’s the next PNP chief here? This is probably what we call politics in the PNP,” he said in an interview with CNN Philippines.
“Wala akong ibang makitang ibang motibo eh [I can’t see any other motive],” added Albayalde, who also admitted that the 190,000-strong police force is “really affected” by the controversy hounding the “father” of the organization.
Albayalde, who was quizzed on Thursday by senators who probed an alleged irregular anti-drug operation in Mexico, Pampanga in 2013, said those behind the controversy may be trying to damage the image of whoever he will endorse to President Rodrigo Duterte as the next PNP chief.
“They could also, ito yung isang paraan [This could be one of their ways] [to discredit whoever I will endorse to be the next PNP chief]. They will destroy my reputation, my integrity so that kapag ako ay nag-endorse sa Presidente [when I endorse to the President], that’s a kiss of death already,” he said.
Albayalde is set to retire on November 8 when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56.
“I think even the entire Filipino nation are affected here. Even the war on drugs is affected also,” the PNP chief added.
The Senate is probing the 2013 anti-drug operation which happened when Albayalde was Pampanga police director. Former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) director and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong Jr. said it was impossible for Albayalde not to have been aware of the alleged irregular drug bust.
During Thursday’s hearing at the Senate, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino, who was then Central Luzon police chief, also finally admitted that Albayalde talked to him by phone in 2016 and asked that the dismissal order against the 13 police officers involved in the drug bust be not enforced.
Albayalde denied this again during the interview, maintaining that he only asked for the status of the case. He said he does not regret making that phone call. /muf
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