Panelo says Magalong testimony ’all hearsay’
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo described as “hearsay” the testimony of former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong linking Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde to drug recycling.
“As a lawyer, ang nakita ko kasi nung mga salita ni Mayor Magalong, with due respect to him, puro hearsay eh — sabi ni ganito, alam ko ganyan, wala iyon eh,” Panelo said in a CNN Philippines interview Monday.
(As a lawyer, with due respect to Mayor Magalong, his statements are hearsay–someone says this and that, that’s nothing.]
Magalong has told a Senate inquiry that Albayalde made a call to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino as he tried to intercede for the dismissal of the charges filed against his men who conducted the 2013 drug raid in Pampanga.
He also said the testimony of retired General Lacadin was weak.
Lacadin, was the Region 3’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) deputy director for operations when Albayalde was Pampanga police director, earlier told a Senate investigation that Albayalde called him to ask about the probe he was conducting on a drug raid.
“And he said, I don’t know if he’s joking. Actually, sir, only a little went to me from that,” Lacadin said in mix Filipino and English.
Panelo questioned the testimony of Lacadin.
“Ang problema sa statement ni General [Lacadin], mayroon siyang sinabing: ‘Hindi ko ho alam kung nagbibiro o hindi.’ Sa hukuman, hindi pwede ‘yon. ‘Pag ganyan ang salita mo, wala na, dismissed ang kaso mo,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
(The problem with the statement of General Lacadin is when he said, “I don’t know if Albayalde was kidding or not.” In court, that won’t be accepted. When you say it that way, your case will be dismissed).
Despite these remarks, Panelo denied he was lawyering for Albayalde.
“Not really, because I’m being asked as a lawyer, my observation. That’s not lawyering; I’m giving an objective analysis or assessment, in fairness to all,” he said.
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, chided a senator for quickly pinning down Albayalde as guilty.
“[A]ng sinasabi ko lang, merong isa o isang senador o dalawa na nagko-comment na guilty kaagad, hindi naman pupuwede iyon. Parang unfair naman iyon doon sa inaakusahan nila,” he said.
(What I am saying is that there is one senator or two who commented that Albayalde is already guilty, that should not be. That’s unfair for the one being accused).
While Panelo did not name the senators, Sens. Richard Gordon and Franklin Drilon earlier said there was sufficient evidence to press appropriate charges against Albayalde. /jpv
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