Albayalde liable for graft over 2013 Pampanga drug ops — Gordon
MANILA, Philippines — Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde is “very liable” for graft in connection with the anomalous anti-drug operation conducted in November 2013.
Senator Richard Gordon said this on Friday as he presented the findings of the Senate blue ribbon and justice and human rights committees that conducted an inquiry into the so-called “ninja cops.”
He said that Albayalde is liable for the such offense “by reason of his seniority, his moral superiority, and his competence.”
“The findings are he [Albayalde] is liable for anti-graft and that will be up for the Ombudsman or the DOJ,” Gordon said during a press conference.
The senator said Albayalde could be charged with Section 3(a) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices and Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code when he called Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Aaron Aquino, who was then the Central Luzon police regional director, and former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group deputy chief Rudy Lacadin, about the cases against policemen involved in the controversial drug sting.
Albayalde was then the Pampanga police director at the time the 13 policemen conducted the anti-illegal drug operation on November 29, 2013 in Mexico, Pampanga.
Several irregularities were discovered during the police operation, such as the time it was conducted and the amount of confiscated evidence.
A certain Johnson Lee was arrested during the operation but he allegedly paid P50 million in exchange for his freedom.
Baloyo and his team then presented a different suspect named Ding Wenkun.
In 2014, the 13 Pampanga policemen were found guilty of grave misconduct for failing to account all the confiscated evidence. They were also accused of pilfering millions worth of illegal drugs from the operation.
According to Gordon, Albayalde and the 13 police officers who conducted the 2013 raid were “guilty” of malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance.
“Kailangan pag nagkamali, apply the law. That’s what the law is for. Kapag nag-raid ka, follow the procedure of the raid para wala tayong trouble. And if they had followed that, there would be no problem,” Gordon said.
(If someone does something wrong, the law should be applied. That’s what the law is for. If you conducted a raid, follow the procedure of the raid so we won’t run into any trouble. And if they had followed that, there would be no problem).
The resigned PNP chief has maintained that those linking him to the questionable drug sting has “ill motives” against him.
“Ang paulit-ulit na sinasabi niya ay pinagtutulungan siya, pinagiinitan siya. May naiingit,” he added, referring to Albayalde.
(He repeatedly said he was being ganged up on).
But the senator said Albayalde failed to defend himself satisfactorily during the Senate hearings.
“But he never defended himself adequately and how could he? Sa parada ng ebidensya, talo siya. The moment lumakad yung mga tao niya, dapat, bantayado na yan. The moment nakahuli, dapat, bantayado na yan,” he said.
(But he never defended himself adequately and how could he? With the parade of evidence, he already lost. The moment your subordinates conduct an operation, they should’ve been guarded already. The moment they nab somebody, they should be guarded).
“Kung hindi niya alam nung araw, no’ng pumutok, dapat pinuntahan niya yung mga tao niya Kayo ba ginawa niyo ba talaga yan?” he added.
(If he had no knowledge of the operation, when the issue blew up, he should’ve approached his men and asked them what had happened).
“Nothing of this sort happened…A big fat zero, and that is where he made his mistake. If he had followed suit, if he had investigated his own men, if he had punished them outright, if he had recommended dismissal , suspension,” he further said.
‘Baloyo and his merry men’
The joint Senate committee, meanwhile, recommended the filing of drug and other criminal charges against Baloyo and his team.
According to the panel, the 13 policemen may be liable for violating Section 27 (misappropriation) and 29 (planting of evidence) of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 for allegedly failing to “properly account the seize contraband” and conducting “a sham buy bust” in the house owned by Chinese national Ding Wenkun, respectively.
The panel also said the Pampanga policemen violated Article 293 (robbery) and Article 269 (unlawful arrest) of the Revised Penal Code for allegedly taking the items they confiscated from the 2013 operation.
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