By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Monday renewed his assurance that due process will given by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde.
“For its part, the DOJ will conduct a fair and thorough investigation of the old and new charges and will afford General Albayalde his right to due process,” Guevarra told reporters.
Guevarra made the assurance after the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) on Monday filed before the DOJ an amended complaint against the so-called “ninja cops” and included Albayalde as one of the respondents.
“The inclusion of General Albayalde in the amended complaint affidavit filed by the PNP-CIDG before the DOJ today is a reflection of their assessment that General Albayalde may be held criminally liable for the acts or omissions alleged in the complaint,” the Secretary stated.
A DOJ special panel of prosecutors is currently conducting a re-investigation of the case that was dismissed back in 2017 by another panel of prosecutors handling the case at that time.
The PNP-CIDG eventually filed a petition for review before the DOJ following the dismissal of the case.
The case concerns the 2013 illegal drugs operations in Mexico, Pampanga where members of the Pampanga Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force at that time led by Police Major Rodney Raymund Baloyo IV seized around 200 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu, P55 million in cash and a Toyota Fortuner.
However, after the operation, the 13 policemen failed to account for the confiscated items and even failed to prosecute alleged Chinese drug trader Johnson Lee who was believed freed in exchange for a portion of the illegal drugs, the cash, and the vehicle.
At that time, Albayalde was the police provincial director of Pampanga.