'Senate can prove PNP chief's guilt'

Philippine National Police chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde, scheduled to retire on November 8, may face charges over his alleged involvement in the drug recycling and “ninja cops” issues, with Malacañang saying it will announce his possible successor tomorrow.

READ: Top cop linked to drug raid

Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said the panel would recommend the filing of charges against Albayalde, adding, replying to questions, “we can prove it (if he is guilty),” adding “He really needs a strong lawyer.” 

READ: Three senators: Top cop liable for ‘ninja cops’

During the “In Focus” news forum in Quezon City, Gordon told reporters that his committee’s report on the Senate’s probe on the ninja cops issue is just awaiting the signatures of his fellow senators.

The report, he said, included recommendations on what charges would be filed against the top cop.

“What charges? We don’t know yet,” the senator said.

Gordon, however, said that based on the testimonies and evidence gathered by the Senate panel, Albayalde might be criminally and administratively liable.

“It can be graft and corruption; at the very least, negligence. But the committee will discuss these first,” he said.

In a statement, former Presidential aide now Sen. Christopher Go said the three being considered for the top PNP post were Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar and Lt. Gens. Archie Gamboa and Camilo Cascolan.

READ: 3 cop officers in top-post list

“Possible choices based on seniority. But it’s the President’s prerogative to choose anyone he likes,” Go, in a statement, said.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed this, saying the President was likely to respect seniority in the ranks of the PNP.

Go said the early retirement of Albalyalde was due to the coming Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit on the first week of November

The President is scheduled to leave for Bangkok, Thailand and the schedule for PNP turn-over will be adjusted, he said.

 Albayalde said he was okay with the date of the turnover rites.

At the same time, a party-list congressman urged the immediate filing of charges and speedy trial of suspected ““Ninja cops.” 

“Ninja cops” are policemen who, instead of turning over confiscated drugs to the courts or other agencies tasked to hold such drugs in safekeeping, sell the drugs to other traffickers.

“These ‘ninja cops’ should be put on trial for brazenly defying the legal provisions that are there precisely to thwart the rampant recycling of confiscated drugs back into our streets, which has become a lucrative racket for crooks in the force,” Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said.

“These rotten officers have been operating above the law and have made a mockery of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which mandates strict guidelines in the proper accounting, custody, and disposition of impounded drugs,” Atienza, former three-term mayor of Manila, said.

Atienza cited Section 21 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, which provides that: 

“The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice, and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof.”

Albayalde has been embroiled in a drug scandal involving 13 of his men when he was Pampanga provincial police head. 

Officers led by then Maj. Rodney Baloyo IV, one of Albayalde’s deputies in Pampanga, allegedly kept for themselves cash, vehicles and some 160 kilos of shabu with a street value of over P650 million, following an operation against suspected Chinese drug trafficker Johnson Lee in Mexico town on Nov. 29, 2013. 

In exchange for a P50 million payoff, Baloyo’s team also allegedly set Lee free, and instead presented another Chinese, Ding Wengkun, who was later acquitted of the charges.

According to Atienza, the criminal activities of “ninja cops” serve as one of the strongest arguments against the return of the death penalty, according to Atienza, a pro-life crusader.

“Every citizen is vulnerable to potential drug evidence-planting and extortion by these police scalawags who are illegally hoarding seized drugs, and whose apparent sole motivation is to use their positions of authority to make money for themselves,” Atienza said. 

“These ‘ninja cops’ are bound to use the hazard of death sentences to threaten their victims of extortion, if and when Congress brings back capital punishment,” Atienza warned. 

The Dangerous Drugs Act mandates that within 24 hours upon seizure, all illegal drugs have to be delivered to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s (PDEA) forensic laboratory for qualitative and quantitative examination. 

The PDEA’s forensic laboratory is then required to produce within 24 to 48 hours a sworn certification of examination results under oath. 

After the filing of criminal charges in court, the judge, within 72 hours, is then expected to conduct an ocular inspection of the confiscated drugs.

Within 24 hours after the inspection, the court, through the PDEA, is then expected to cause the destruction of the seized drugs, also in the presence of a representative from the media, the DOJ and an elected official.                                                             

A sworn certification of the drugs destroyed, along with a preserved representative sample—duly weighed and recorded—is then submitted to the court and kept by PDEA for use as evidence.

READ: 2 ‘generals’ out of 9 tagged in illegal drug trade still at it

READ: Palace chides PNP chief over ‘move-on’ yarn

READ: Sotto sees explosive exposé on ‘ninja cops’

Topics: Philippine National Police , Oscar Albayalde , drug recycling , “ninja cops”
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