Albayalde says he is willing to be ''reinvestigated'' on 2013 Pampanga drug raid
In hot water, Police General Oscar Albayalde faced another day at Senate hearing on "ninja cops" who are allegedly involved in drug recycling where he expressed his willingness to be investigated for the 2013 Pampanga drug raid.
"If this will be reinvestigated, I'm willing to be subject to investigation," the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief said.
Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee, scolded Albayalde saying he "dropped the ball" after he got involved in the issue.
"Under your term, the PNP's reputation was going up until this. We have to correct this," Gordon said.
Gordon said the raid happened in the morning but Albayalde and Police Major Rodney Raymundo Louie Bayolo, the head of the raiding team, are the only ones insisting it happened in the afternoon.
In his defense, Albayalde said he only based his knowledge on the spot report provided to him. He said he had no update on the investigation since he was on a floating status after being relieved.
Gordon then told them to be honorable cops.
"I would like to save whatever reputation the PNP has built up," he said.
During the session, a former police officer revealed the 13 cops being involved in the Pampanga raid lied in their report to cover up their operation which they did not inform their provincial director, Albayalde.
"The spot report is all lies. That was the attempt to cover up... it is true the operation happened in the morning. They been fooling us for so long," retired Brigadier General Manuel Gaerlan said.
He said based on investigation they did not find any evidence that Albayalde is involved in the operation. That's why he was only relieved, added Gaerlan.
"In fairness to General Albayalde, we did not see any evidence or testimony implicating him," said Gaerlan.
After the revelation of Gaerlan, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong again questioned Albayalde for allowing the violations.
While the mayor was delivering his speech, Albayalde was seen smiling when Magalong said he was "not accusing" him.
"Why the provincial director has no logical action when in fact there are glaring violations committed by the operating troops?" he said.
"Life is a matter of choices. During that matter of incident, you have choices... when you saw there are irregularities, you should have done something that is right, or you did not do anything at all, or probably other more choices... Why are we here now? Obviously, you made a choice," Magalong added.
In response, Albayalde said he was only a "victim of circumstances".
"In any police operation, there is always a presumption of regularity... It's as if that time we don't know anything. It started when I was relieved," he said.
"There is no issue. It was presumed to be a good accomplishment... I'm also a previous operative, and I had bosses who allow me to operate and when accomplished, you just present to them and make a spot report," he said ,adding all generals present in the hearing are aware of that.
He said there are times a commander will make a violation.
"Sometimes you are really victim of circumstances that's why you are being relieved," Albayalde.
He said all generals have different style of leadership.
A litte commotion started when Gordon asked Albayalde why he did not contest after he was administratively relieved for command responsibility but it was Senator Imee Marcos who answered cops do not do those kind of things.
However, Albayalde said there is no need for him to question the order as he was not included in the case.
"I was not charged so there is no need to contest," he said.
Earlier, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Aaron Aquino admitted receiving a call from Albayalde when he was the regional director of Central Luzon police after denying it after last Tuesday's hearing.
Aquino said he was "pressured" during last hearing.
"I wish to explain that my statement that General Albayalde called me up to know the status of the case of Baloyo and others is the truth... but he also added during the same (call) and I quote: Sir, can you hold the implementation of order," Aquino said.
"Then I asked him: 'Why Oca?', where he answered, 'Because they are my men'," he added.
Aquino said not only him but his family have threats.
"I was thinking of my family who is now put in much deeper danger," he said.
Aquino said this is the same information he disclosed to President Rodrigo Duterte but when asked if he told him about Albayalde's reason for asking him a favor, Aquino is not quite sure.
"I think so sir," he told Senator Richard Gordon.
Albayalde then insisted he did not influence the official.
"Whether I call or not, the decision of General Aquino did not change," he said as Aquino admitted not having any interest on the old case due to the ongoing "war on drugs".
The head of the cops involved, Baloyo, was cited in contempt for being "very evasive" to the senators who are questioning him. He was placed at Muntinlupa City Jail.
It was also find out that the cops who should be dismissed are only facing a weak case resulting for them to just be demoted.
Senators found out the 2014 dismissal order was kept in Camp Crame as serving of the document needs the approval of the higher office. It was then returned to Central Luzon Police Office on 2016.
Gordon ordered the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look for the alleged drug lord, Johnson Lee, who allegedly paid the involved cops P50 million for his release, as only he can answer what happened in the raid.
Albayalde said they will re-investigate the 2013 controversial drug raid.
"They (cops involved) are now on floating status," he said.
The inquiry on "ninja cops" started after Magalong disclosed that a retired and active general are involved in drug recycling during executive session of the Senate hearing. Ella Dionisio/DMS