By Mario Casayuran
The Senate will debate on and approve the report of the Senate Blue Ribbon, and Justice and Human Rights Committees recommending the filing of criminal charges against Philippine National Police (PNP) Director-General Oscar Albayalde and 13 ‘’ninja cops’’ when it resumes regular session on November 4, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said on Saturday.
Interviewed by DWIZ radio while in Singapore after attending an Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Belgrade, Serbia along with 10 other senators, Sotto said he was confident that a majority of the 24-man Senate would approve the 46-page committee report penned by Senator Richard J. Gordon, chairman of the two committees.
“Palagay ko unanimous,” Sotto said, adding that the committee report contained very accurate and faithful reproduction of the public hearings. (I think the voting will be unanimous.)
Albayalde, who is on non-duty status at the PNP hierarchy since last Monday, is scheduled to go on retirement upon reaching the age of 56 on November 8.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will determine whether or not Albayalde will receive his retirement and/or pension benefits following the Senate findings, and whether the Department of Justice (DOJ) will file criminal charges against Albayalde and his 13 men who were his subordinates when he was the Pampanga provincial director in 2013.
It was in late 2013 that the so-called “ninja cops’’ allegedly staged a simulated buy-bust operation at a subdivision in Mexico, Pampanga, and declared that only 32 of the 200 kilos of “shabu’’(crystal meth) were seized. They also allegedly freed the South Korean drug lord, Johnson Lee after he paid P50 million in “kidnap’’’ ransom, and made off
with some of Lee’s vehicles.
In lieu of Lee, the police raiders presented a Chinese Ding Wenkun, as the alleged drug lord. Wenkun was picked up at his Angeles city residence.
Albayalde has denied that the drug raid was “haoshao (simulated)”.
Senators raised their eyebrows when Albayalde included himself as a recipient of a citation for a job well done because of the Pampanga raid.
Sotto said Albayalde was given all the chances to clear bad impressions on his actions and that of his men but he failed to do so.
Retired PNP General, Rudy Lacadin testified that Albayalde called him up on the pending dismissal orders for his men and admitted having received only a small amount from the drug seizure case.
Albayalde’s successor, Aaron Aquino, current Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chairman, testified that Albayalde called him up on the dismissal orders for his men.
The DILG will decide whether or not it would file administrative charges against Albayalde and his men.
President Duterte already has a copy of the Senate report as hand-carried to Malacanang by Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘’Bong’’ Go, former Special Assistant to the President.
Asked whether the DOJ would not sit on the Senate committee report, Sotto replied: ’’Sana’’ (I hope it will not sit on the report.)
‘Malamang,’’ Sotto replied to a query whether Senator Ronald dela Rosa will affix his signature on the report although he and Albayalde are ‘’mistah’’ as they belong to the same Philippine Military Academy (PMA) batch.
Sotto said dela Rosa, a former PNP chief, would sign the committee report as long as it faithfully reflects what transpired at the Senate public hearings.
He said those linked to the drug recycling case must face the music, and that their fate now depends on the courts.
The Gordon committee report asked the DOJ that it investigate Albayalde and his men for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 Revised Penal Code and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The Gordon committee also listed legislative proposals such as:
- Strengthen the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) by making IAS a truly independent institution and should be detached from the PNP structure.
- Amend the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 where persons of good repute should monitor the procedures on Chain of Custody and drug buy-bust are followed.
- Suspension or dismissal of rogue policemen, not merely reassigned to other posts.
- Confiscation of service firearms and badges of rogue policemen who have been dismissed or suspended or facing criminal and administrative charges.
- Shorten the review of administrative cases filed against rogue policemen.
- Creation of a training program which will conduct mandatory training on values, character formation and leadership for all policemen in order to professionalize the police force in all levels.
- Police officers should have a four-year course not taken with the PNP Academy (PNPA), PNPA should focus on specific after-collegiate training (boot camp; 27 weeks).