Duterte wants ‘clear proof’ vs Albayalde in ‘ninja cops’ case
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday that due process should be followed in the “ninja cops” case, which allegedly involves several members of the police force, including Gen. Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“Give me a clear proof that he was indeed there in the trafficking of drugs,” the President said in a press conference following his arrival from his official visit to Russia.
“I could not just do it in a knee-jerk [reaction]. I have to follow procedural due process and allow him time to answer,” he said. “The right to be heard — it’s given to the criminals, to the kidnappers. It should be given to a general of the Philippine National Police.”
Asked if he still trusted Albayalde, the President underscored the need for proof, adding that he would have simply told the PNP chief to “go out” if he no longer trusted him.
“Just give me proof because I’m a lawyer. You know, there is a legal maxim which we have to follow. Guilt is personal. That’s the problem. That’s why you have to hear before you condemn because guilt, as I said, is personal,” the President said, speaking partly in Filipino.
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, who was chief of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, earlier said that several cops supposedly made millions from crystal meth seized in an anti-drug operation in Mexico, Pampanga in November 2013.
Some 38 kilograms of crystal meth, locally called shabu, and a “substantial” amount of cash were supposedly seized in that operation. But a separate probe conducted by the CIDG found that the seized shabu amounted to 200 kilograms.
Magalong alleged that Albayalde, at that time the chief of the Pampanga Provincial Police Office, was among those who bought sport utility vehicles (SUVs) after the drug operation.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino, who was then chief of the Central Luzon Police Regional Office, said Albayalde asked him not to implement the dismissal order against the 13 so-called ninja cops involved in the operation.
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