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Duterte: Let Albayalde answer allegations

October 07, 2019 - Monday 6:10 PM by Ruth Palo

Article Banner Image CHANCE. President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City on October 6, 2019 following his official visit to the Russian Federation. In his remarks, Duterte said he will give Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde the chance to answer the allegations being leveled against him on the “ninja cops” issue. ARMAN BAYLON/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

DAVAO CITY -- President Rodrigo Duterte is giving Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde the chance to answer the allegations being leveled against him on the “ninja cops” issue before making a final decision.

“You know, Albayalde is the PNP chief. Wala pa naman (There is nothing yet) -- give me a clear proof that he was really there on the take or was in the trafficking of drugs,” Duterte said in a press briefing on Sunday afternoon upon his arrival from an official visit to Russia.
“I could not just do it in a knee jerk. I have to follow procedural due process and allow him time to answer. The right to be heard. It’s given to the criminals, to the kidnappers. It should be given to a general of the Philippine National Police,” he said.
“Because under the laws, we are all equal. ‘Yan na lang ang masabi ko (That’s all I can say). But it is the -- it is now the burden of (Interior and Local Government) Secretary (Eduardo) Año to investigate at ipapasa niya ‘yan sa akin (he will submit it to me). I approve or disapprove with finality once it reaches my office,” added.

Asked if Albayalde still has his trust and confidence, Duterte said: “Well, that he is still there. Otherwise, I would have you know just -- I would have told him to just go out. Wala pa naman. Just give me a proof kasi abogado ako eh (There is no decision yet. Just give me proof because I am a lawyer). 

“You know, there is a legal maxim which we have to follow. Guilt is personal. ‘Yan ang problema (That is the problem). That is why you have to hear before you condemn because guilt, I said, is personal,” the President added.
“Hintayin ko muna si (I will wait for) Secretary Año. He’s there, he’s here (in the airport). He’s a former -- he was a chief of staff and I know that he knows his business,” Duterte said.

TAAS-KAMAO. President Duterte gestures while delivering his speech upon his arrival at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City on October 6, 2019 following his successful official visit to the Russian Federation. SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Año, for his part, confirmed that he is set to submit to the President the result of the investigation on Albayalde’s alleged involvement in the “ninja cops” controversy before the latter retires on November 8, 2019.

“Dapat earlier (than his retirement, otherwise), mabalewala yung investigation result,” Año said in a chance interview with reporters at the sidelines of President Duterte’s arrival on Sunday afternoon at the Davao International Airport from his visit to Russia.

(It should be submitted before his retirement, otherwise the investigation result would be for nothing.)

Año said he has already started reviewing the case as instructed by the President while awaiting the result of the investigation of the Senate justice committee.

“This will be a thorough and fair review and re-investigation. The review is based of facts, based on the reports, based on the past investigation conducted,”Año told reporters.

NOT ME. PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde, seen here speaking to reporters during a recent visit in Davao City, has denied the allegations being leveled against him. File photo by Arjoy M. Ceniza

The PNP is an attached agency of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Año said the DILG legal team and lawyers from the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) have been commissioned to conduct an investigation on Albayalde’s alleged involvement in the “ninja cops” issue.

“Ninja cops” are police officers who allegedly resell drugs that have been confiscated in police operations.

Año said he would let the Senate finish its probe on the issue before deciding on the DILG’s internal investigation on the fate of the PNP chief.

In last week’s Senate hearing, former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong accused Albayalde, who was then Pampanga provincial police director, of intervening to stop the dismissal of 13 police officers involved in the November 2013 drug buy bust in Mexico, Pampanga.

That operation had supposedly led to the confiscation of 200 kilograms of shabu but CIDG’s investigation showed only 38 kilos were reported by the members of the raiding team.

The decision to dismiss the 13 police officers was downgraded to demotion of ranks allegedly upon Albayalde’s approval. 

“Titingnan namin yon, papaano na-downgrade yong dismissal to demotion,” Año said.

(We are looking into that, how the dismissal was downgraded to demotion.)

Albayalde has denied Magalong’s allegations.