PMA pressure might have made Albayalde quit – Gordon
Updated @ 11:18 p.m., Oct. 14, 2019
MANILA, Philippines — Mounting pressure from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) might have contributed to the decision of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde to step down from his post, Sen. Richard Gordon said Monday.
In an interview with reporters at the Senate, Gordon disclosed that a message from a retired general, who called on Albayalde to resign from his post in an effort to “Save the PNP,” was passed along through text and online messages.
“I think he was also under pressure from the academy. There’s pressure within the academy that: ‘It’s already getting to us…‘We believe that we have an honor code.’ That: ‘We believe we’re honorable men and women…and we’re getting dragged into that [issue].’ It added pressure,” Gordon said, speaking partly in Filipino.
Alabayalde, who graduated as a member of the PMA Sinagtala Class of 1986, was accused of intervening with the dismissal case of his subordinates involved in a questionable 2013 anti-drug operation in Mexico, Pampanga.
“I received a message from a general with the words “Save the PNP.” It was passed along, I even received it in one of my group chats,” Gordon said.
The senator further noted that retired Brig. Gen. Rudy Lacadin was also mentioned in the message.
“Lacadin was also mentioned. He said ‘These are my former junior officers. These were good officers, including Albayalde.’ But at the end of the message: ‘We need to save the PNP,’” Gordon went on.
In last week’s Senate hearing, it was Lacadin who claimed that Albayalde called him and asked about the investigation he was conducting against the Pampanga police officers involved in the questionable 2013 drug sting.
Lacadin further said that in the same phone conversation, Albayalde, who was then the Pampanga police chief, had told him about only getting “a little” from the controversial anti-drug operation.
Not off the hook yet
According to Gordon, Albayalde’s resignation gave the PNP a “respite” from issues hounding the agency.
“It gives the PNP a respite because the focus is on them. And it also gives him a respite so that he’ll have time to prepare for whatever is coming. And I think he’s already preparing for that,” he said, speaking partly in Filipino.
However, the senator said the former top cop was “not off the hook” yet despite his early exit from his post.
“Retirement doesn’t get him off the hook,” the senator said. “There really is a surfeit of evidence gathered from the time he (Albayalde) did not do anything about it, from the time he was giving information that was inaccurate. He had only one statement on the whole investigation: He could have investigated his men.”
“The seriousness of this is: They’re seizing big amounts of drugs. They will get some of it and give it [as evidence]. They bigger part of it, they spread arounde. And that’s why we assiduously pursue this case,” Gordon added.
Meanwhile, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said he had “mixed feelings“ about how Albayalde “abruptly ended his police service more than three weeks before his compulsory retirement.”
“His statements prior to his formal announcement today to relinquish command of the 190,000-strong police force have somehow diminished the redeeming value of his intent to spare the PNP from the so-called ‘ninja cops’ controversies,” Lacson, a former PNP chief, said in a statement.
“Being a PMA graduate myself, I feel sad whenever fellow Peemayers slug it out publicly over issues that hit the very core of the unique and exclusive cadet honor system which has nurtured us for four arduous years to prepare ourselves to resist the moral challenges and temptations once we step out of the Academy,” he added.
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