PNP chief: It seems everybody’s ganging up on me
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde maintained his innocence over allegations that he benefited from a questionable drug raid by his men in Pampanga in November 2013.
“It seems everybody is ganging up on me,” Albayalde lamented at the resumption of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee inquiry into the issue of “ninja cops,” or policemen who pilfer and sell drugs seized during raids, Albayalde maintained he was never involved in the alleged criminal actions of his men when he was Pampanga police provincial director.
“I really don’t know what the conspiracy here is. It seems that everybody is ganging up on me,” Albayalde remarked, shaking his head.
Retired police general Rudy Lacadin told the committee about a call he received from Albayalde sometime in 2014.
Albayalde is set to retire on Nov. 8. He earlier indicated the controversy raised against him might be connected with the jockeying for the post that he will vacate.
Lacadin claimed Albayalde called him up inquiring about his probe on him and his men in connection with the raid where over 160 kilos of shabu worth P650 million, cash and some vehicles were allegedly taken from a suspected drug trafficker.
He said Albayalde told him “konti lang naman ang napunta sa akin (only a little went to me),” but up to now he has yet to figure out whether he was joking.
Albayalde said it was very unlikely that he called up Lacadin, who was not only his superior but also belonged to an upper class at the Philippine Military Academy.
“I don’t know what he (Lacadin) has against me, but assuming I said that, the question is, again, why was I not charged,” he said.
Albayalde said that despite being relieved from his post to clear the way for an impartial probe and placed on “floating status” for eight months, he was never charged criminally, or even administratively, for command responsibility.
He said that in the many investigations conducted on the operation led by then PNP Lt. Col. Rodney Baloyo, nothing at all was found to implicate him.
“Over and over and over again, the investigators are here, nothing was found. Otherwise, if they found something against me, like being liable for command responsibility, I would have been charged for command responsibility,” Albayalde said.
“After six years, why only now?” he asked.
Albayalde also said his promotion to one-star rank was approved without major hitches, and among the signatories were then PNP director Benjamin Magalong, now his principal accuser.
Albayalde also stressed Baloyo was not his original intelligence chief. Baloyo was already the Pampanga police office intelligence officer when he assumed the top PNP post in the province.
Albayalde made the point after Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the committee, said if there are any two subordinates a police commander trusts, it is his intelligence and finance officers.
Gordon again questioned Albayalde on why he did not protest when he was relieved if he believed he was innocent.
Albayalde replied that he preferred to wait and pray until he would be given a new post.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief, explained to Gordon that in the uniformed services, subordinates rarely question orders from their superiors, unlike in civilian agencies.
“We never question why we’re relieved. We never question our superior officers, there’s no such thing in the military or the police,” Lacson said.
Gordon, however, insisted that such a practice must end.
Baloyo, on the other hand, remains detained at the New Bilibid Prison after he was cited in contempt by the Senate for being evasive.