Albayalde’s resignation just ‘damage control’ — lawmaker
MANILA, Philippines — The resignation of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde was described as a “graceful exit” and “damage control” by opposition House members on Monday amid the “ninja cops” controversy hounding the institution.
Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said that the resignation of the embattled top cop was “designed as a smokescreen to hide the real corruption and shenanigans of the drug war of President Rodrigo Duterte.”
“They are trying to minimize the damage that Gen. Albayalde’s involvement had done which is why he was let go earlier,” Gaite said in a statement, alluding that Malacañang officials may have talked Albayalde over the weekend into stepping down.
Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago for her part said that beyond Albayalde’s resignation, the youth continues to demand justice and accountability.
Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon, a member of the pro-administration House majority, meanwhile believes that Albayalde has “preserved the integrity” of the institution by quitting. Biazon said the PNP chief could now best defend his innocence from allegations.
”For men in uniform, it should always be the Institution they represent above self. More so with those in leadership positions. Preserving the integrity of their unit and insulating it from controversy is part of the sacrifice they should be willing to make,” the congressman said.
“PNP Chief Albayalde has done this with his resignation from the post,” he added.
It was former PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong who first testified at a Senate probe that Albayalde intervened in the case of the 13 Pampanga cops who were his subordinates when he was chief of Pampanga PNP. The officers were allegedly involved in the stashing of shabu and accepting bribes in an irregular anti-illegal drug operation in 2013.
In 2017, the erring cops faced demotion by a rank, instead of the original dismissal order. But in light of the ongoing Senate probe, they were put on floating status.
Albayalde, who was set to retire on November 8, had denied protecting the cops and vowed to refile the criminal and administrative cases against the police officers if needed.
But Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino later on admitted that Albayalde had asked him not to implement the dismissal order against the 13 policemen.
Retired police general Rudy Lacadin, who was probing the case, had also testified that Albayalde told him he “got just a little” from the controversial drug sting. /je
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