DOJ wraps up probe of Albayalde, 13 others
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday wrapped up its preliminary investigation into the criminal complaint filed against the former Philippine National Police chief, Police Gen. Oscar Albayalde, and 13 former subordinates for allegedly conspiring to let a drug lord escape in exchange for P55 million and 200 kilos of “shabu” (crystal meth) in 2013.
The DOJ panel of state prosecutors led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Alexander Suarez received the final sworn statements from Albayalde and Police Maj. Rodney Baloyo IV, who led the drug raid in Mexico, Pampanga, in 2013, seeking the dismissal of the complaint filed by the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).
Suarez said they would decide whether to file charges in court or to dismiss the complaint, without necessarily waiting for the 90-day prescribed period to issue a resolution.
“We cannot give you a specific period when it will be resolved but definitely a resolution would be forthcoming as soon as possible,” he told reporters after the fifth and final hearing on Monday.
The DOJ panel of prosecutors will make its decision based on the PNP-CIDG’s complaint, which in turn was mainly based on the testimonies given during the Senate blue ribbon committee inquiry last month, and the counteraffidavits of the respondent police officers.
Baloyo and 12 police officers face the same charges that were investigated by the DOJ in 2014, i.e. that they allegedly misappropriated seized illegal drugs, took a bribe of P55 million and a sports utility vehicle, and perjured themselves to cover the escape of drug lord Johnson Lee.
The DOJ dismissed the complaint for insufficient evidence.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, however, ordered another investigation after the Senate blue ribbon committee chair, Sen. Richard Gordon, redirected his inquiry into scams in New Bilibid Prison to the so-called ninja cops and their connection to Albayalde, who was Pampanga police director during the 2013 raid.
The PNP-CIDG included Albayalde as a respondent after he resigned as PNP chief in October, a few weeks shy of his retirement.
Albayalde was also accused of misappropriating confiscated drugs, graft, qualified bribery, falsification of public documents, perjury and dereliction of duty along with his 13 former men.
In his counteraffidavit, he said the PNP-CIDG merely adopted the allegations in the earlier dismissed complaint and failed to prove how he supposedly conspired with the police operatives.
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