A man’s loyalty to his friend or boss as they say will always be tested when something terrible happens to the latter and he is already down and out. In the case of beleaguered PNP chief, General Oscar Albayalde, I would say that many of his so-called friends appear to have forgotten him, a real case of abandon ship.
I would say that even some police officials who are supposed and are expected to show their full and vocal support to the embattled Chief before, during and after the widely-watched Senate investigation terribly failed to do their job. On Monday alone, I got a message from a 1-star police general airing his and his men’s support to Gen. Albayalde.
Nice but I think it’s too late, the message sent only after President Duterte had made it clear that the PNP chief is presumed innocent until proven otherwise and simply cannot adopt the results of the Senate investigation into the so-called ‘Ninja Cops’ who previously worked under Albayalde when he was still the Pampanga police director.
It seems to me that a number of officials simply watched from the sidelines and did nothing as the Senate inquiry started. Don’t’ get me wrong but it’s a case of ‘fence-sitting’ as they apparently abhor the idea of being identified with Albayalde up to the end and ruining their chances of staying to their posts as soon as a new PNP chief is named. This goes especially to those who still have quite a few years left in the service.
Unknown to them, the ‘Chief,PNP-tiables’ or the candidates to replace Albayalde are also watching those who have ‘abandoned’ him. The reason is simple: if these officers who have benefitted from Gen. Albayalde have chosen to play it safe now that the Chief is in trouble, it is very clear they would do the same thing in the future.
As I have reported already, only a few brave PNP officials have publicly aired their full support and confidence to the Chief,PNP amid the controversy hounding him as a result of a 2013 highly-irregular anti-narcotics operation conducted by his former men.
I said this because during other past controversies which hounded former PNP chiefs, I have seen several manifesto of support to the sitting Chief,PNP issued by his generals. It’s also customary for PNP generals to sign such statement of support and send them to the press.
This time, many Camp Crame middle-level officials and I have observed that we are yet to see or hear any statement of support to Gen. Albayalde who will be retiring from the force this coming November 8. Supposedly, there should be somebody who should have initiated the move as early as last week.
The most visible defender of Gen. Albayalde, of course is his spokesman and chief of the PNP Public Information Office, Brigadier General Bernie Banac. However, I would say it is but natural for Banac, a member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Tanglaw Diwa’ Class of 1992 to explain the side of the PNP chief since it is part of his job.
Last Sunday, another PNP official, Major General Bong Durana Jr. of PMA ‘Maringal’ Class of 1988 said something about President Duterte’s defense of the embattled PNP chief and I quote: “Mabuti pa si Presidente top notch ang wisdom bilang isang leader at abogado. Ang iba dyan baliktad. You are already presumed guilty unless proven otherwise beyond reasonable doubt.”
I learned that some officials actually have sharply reacted to the post made by Durana, the director of the PNP Directorate for Police-Community Relations. One general told me: Was he referring to the Senators? Or to retired General-turned Baguio City Mayor Benjie Magalong? Or to some generals themselves?
Police Regional Office 7 director, Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas of PMA ‘Hinirang’ Class of 1987 last week had said that Gen. Albayalde continues to enjoy the full support of the Central Visayas police force. “Of course, we always have…We’d like to support our Chief, PNP and he still have our trust and confidence,” Sinas said
National Capital Region Police Office chief, Major General Gilor Eleazar, another member of PMA Class 1987 who is being rumored as Gen. Albayalde’s ‘choice’ to replace him also had aired his support to the latter while calling on the Metro Manila police to remain busy with their anti-criminality and anti-corruption campaign.
Right now, I would say that the PNP is really a ‘house divided.’ Why? Officials are now separately rooting for the candidates namely PNP Deputy Chief for Operations, Lieutenant General Archie Gamboa, PNP Chief Directorial Staff, Lt. Gen. Pikoy Cascolan, Eleazar and Manila Police District director, Brig. Gen. Vic Danao.
There are also the supporters of Police Security and Protection Group, Brig. Gen. Filmore Escobal and two others whose names were added to the possible candidates, Brig. Gen. Gilbert Cruz of the DIPO-Western Mindanao and Brig. Gen. Val de Leon of the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office.
All seven have their own supporters rooting for them. May the best man win.