Gordon, Drilon: There is strong evidence to charge Albayalde for ‘ninja cops’
MANILA, Philippines – There is clear and sufficient evidence to press appropriate charges on Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde for the “ninja cops issue,” Senators Richard Gordon and Franklin Drilon said on Thursday.
Gordon said the testimony of former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) deputy chief and retired Brig. Gen. Rudy Lacadin, if corroborated with other statements, constitute a strong evidence that may be used to file a complaint of graft against Albayalde.
“Yes, I think so,” the senator said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel after being asked whether there is sufficient evidence against Albayalde. “This is a sworn (statement), he (Lacadin) is a general, officer of good repute.”
“And when you take it together with the other evidence — the approaches to (PDEA Dir. Gen. Aaaron) Aquino and the failure to follow the rules, failure to supervise it correctly — that is at the very least neglect of duty and at the most, graft and corruption,” he added.
Gordon also believes there is now clear evidence against Albayalde, who was accused of influencing the non-dismissal of 13 policemen charged in connection with a 2013 anti-drug operation in Pampanga. Albayalde was chief of the Pampanga police office during the controversial drug bust.
When reminded of President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier statement that there must be clear evidence first against the PNP chief, Gordon said: “I think we have.”
“When you look at the definition of circumstantial evidence, you can put all of these facts that form a conclusion because they are all connected. And these are not all circumstantial evidence because there are witnesses who said he (Albayalde) talked to me, there was money involved,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Drilon, who leads the Minority, also noted that the testimonies, which can be used by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as additional evidence, can possibly cause the conviction of the embattled PNP chief.
“This is what I will say: The evidence is strong. The evidence is strong that if they cannot mount a sufficient defense, then they will be convicted on the basis of what we heard,” Drilon, a former secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ) said.
“People have different statements, they say I am not involved, I was not there when the incident happened. All of these can be negated, if alibi will be merely used to defend themselves, alibi is the weakest defense,” Drilon noted.
The Senate blue ribbon committee, chaired by Gordon, has launched a probe on corruption issues plaguing the Bureau of Corrections and on the involvement of some officers on the illegal drug trade. Former CIDG chief and now Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong implicated Albayalde in one of the hearings.
“I would advise Oscar Albayalde to get a very, very, very good lawyer,” Gordon added.
Gordon also revealed that the lifestyle check on the embattled PNP chief is on going, and it is being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
“That’s being done now, by the NBI,” he added.
According to Magalong’s claims, Albayalde tried to influence former Central Luzon police chief and now Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency head Dir. Gen. Aaron Aquino into not implementing the dismissal of 13 police officers. The 13 officers were then under Albayalde’s watch when he was Pampanga police chief. /muf
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