"What is next for Albayalde?"
The title of this column is derived from an American saying about a baseball game not being over unless the last batter of the losing team has struck out. The idea behind the Hail Mary homerun is that the game result could go the other way in the last inning.
This, however, is not the case for Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde. He has retired from the service but Senator Richard Gordon who investigated his case of drug recycling warned that the former PNP director can still be charged for his role in the controversial Pampanga drug raid that involved his men.
The remaining question, however, is whether Albayalde would have to return all his financial benefits upon retirement if he is found guilty. The Ombudsman will now assume jurisdiction over his case using the Gordon Blue Ribbon Committee findings as basis. The Senate committee does not have any law enforcement capacity; it only conducts inquiries in aid of legislation.
President Rodrigo Duterte, though, has not issued any statement for or against Albayalde indicating the police official still has his confidence. Three police generals which include National Capital Region General Guillermo Eleazar are in the short list of nominees by the National Police Commission. There are proposal to separate the Napolcom from the PNP because of its track record of not filing appropriate administrative and criminal cases against erring cops. But that’s another story that can be changed only with congressional approval.
The citizenry are concerned that many of the crimes committed are done by law enforcers. These have eroded their trust in uniformed personnel. There is an old joke that goes like this. The police are fast to arrive on the crime scene because they are the perpetrators themselves. To be fair, there are honest cops whose reputations are sullied by the rogues in their own ranks like the ninja cops.
The subject policemen who were not charged in the dubious Pampanga raid were merely transferred to Antipolo where they were again exposed for a raid on a house without the proper search and arrest warrants. Recidivism happens when the guilty are not punished according to law. Somehow, they get the notion they are untouchable and above the law.
This errant behavior can be traced all the way from the police academy including the formerly reputable Philippine Military Academy in Baguio. The current case of fatal hazing of a plebe by upperclassmen has brought to light why policemen are prone to committing crimes. It is because they were not punished early on their training, when character building is important.
Meanwhile General Eleazar looks like the early favorite to succeed Albayalde. Eleazar has gained a reputation for his surprise inspection of police precincts where he caught cops sleeping on the job. He must be the most hated man among the low-ranking policemen but he has caught the President’s attention for his no-nonsense performance of duty. We need more of his kind in the police force to instill discipline and keep cops on their toes all the time.
The monstrous traffic problem in Metro Manila can be alleviated if policemen are harnessed to arrest errant drivers. Unfortunately, their role is primarily crime prevention. It is the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and the Metro Manila Development Authority left to handle the traffic problem.
The proposal to build an elevated expressway on top of EDSA sounds good...but will it really work.? Just think of the traffic delay on the old EDSA below because of the construction to lay the pillars to support the new skyway on top. Metro Manila commuters, be prepared to suffer more delays and hardships until the end of Duterte’s term in 2022. Someone said the light at the end of the tunnel could be an oncoming train and that would be more disastrous.