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Sotto starts to doubt PNP Chief’s credibility

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By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The new revelations against Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde has cast doubt on his credibility.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde (Kevin Tristan Espiritu / MANILA BULLETIN)

PNP chief Police General Oscar Albayalde
(KEVIN TRISTAN ESPIRITU / MANILA BULLETIN)

After the Senate justice and blue ribbon committee’s hearing on the “ninja cops” issue, Senate President Vicente Sotto III has admitted having doubts on the embattled PNP leader’s alibis regarding the controversial buy-bust operation conducted by his former subordinates in Pampanga in November 2013.

“In effect, re[garding] General Albayalde, at this point, I don’t know what to think!” Sotto told reporters in a text message.

In an interview, Sotto referred to the expose by former Central Luzon regional police chief, retired Gen. Rudy Lacadin, who said that Albayalde also called him to ask about the case of the 13 Pampanga policemen who were accused of recycling more than 160 kilograms of shabu they seized during the November 29, 2013 drug bust.

Lacadin was then investigating the operation following a dismissal order issued by his predecessor, Gen. Raul Petrasanta, against the erring policemen.

Lacadin said he informed Albayalde that he has nothing to fear if they are innocent, to which the Albayalde, replied, “Actually, Sir, konti lang naman ang napunta sa akin (only a few went to me).”

Sotto conceded the he believes that the former police general’s statements may have had a basis, saying it is not easy to make such allegations.

“At face value, alam mo, kasi hindi madaling magbintang kung hindi merong pinanggagalingan eh. So malamang yon nasabi nga ‘yon (you know, you cannot accuse someone when you have no proof. So most likely, Albayalde may have said that),” the Senate leader said.

“Pero ang point na sinasabi natin is, in what sense sinabi yon o anong context sinabi ‘yon. Medyo mahirap timplahin (But we were pointing out earlier that we should know in what sense or context was he saying that. It’s hard to assess),” he added.

But Sotto said Albayalde would have a hard time justifying that Lacadin had ill motives for claiming this.

At the hearing, the Albayalde alleged that the allegations were part of a “conspiracy” against him, insisting that he was never charged for the anomalous operation.

“Mahirap sanggain ‘yong ganoong statements eh. Because wala naman tayong ma-establish na may galit si Magalong saka si Lacadin (You cannot easily counter those statements. We cannot establish that Magalong and Lacadin were ganging up on him),” Sotto said.

Sotto, who said he was “torn between believing (Lacadin’s statements) and not”, admitted that Albayalde’s credibility was “quite” damaged.

Sotto has since been careful in making judgments about Albayalde, saying he would rather give him the benefit of the doubt.

He earlier said he trusts the PNP chief, as there were no derogatory issues against him since he became the country’s top cop.

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