Albayalde, alleged ninja cops innocent until proven guilty -- PNP

October 19, 2019
Oscar D. Albayalde

THE Philippine National Police yesterday said it will let the law take its course in the case against resigned PNP chief General Oscar D. Albayalde and the 13 alleged ninja cops led by Major Rodney Baloyo who is now being held at the National Bilibid Prisons on orders of the Senate.

“The PNP will let justice, fairness, and due process of law take its course. All accused remain innocent until proven guilty,”  PNP spokesman, Brigadier General Bernard M. Banac said in a press statement.

He also said that they expect the lawyers of the group to answer the charges against them before the proper forum. Senator Richard Gordon said that Gen. Albayalde and his men may face charges for misappropriation of dangerous drugs which is punishable with life imprisonment.

“We leave it to Police General Oscar Albayalde and the other concerned PNP personnel, with their respective legal teams, to address the other side issues that may come with their possible criminal indictment as recommended by the Senate panel,” Banac said.

The PNP spokesperson likewise said they have been “challenged” by President Duterte’s rebuke of the police force over the controversial drug recycling cases involving some rogue police officers and men.

“The PNP is responsive to President Duterte’s challenge and the public’s call for change. We fully understand his frustrations and misgivings over the recent turn of events involving some PNP personnel. But we will not let him down.  We assure our people that the PNP remains on track with renewed vigor to reform itself into the ideal shape to fight crime, illegal drugs, and corruption,” Banac said.

PNP Officer-in-Charge Lieutenant General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa confirmed a Journal Group story that President Duterte rebuked them over the controversial drug recycling cases.

The Journal Group earlier reported that President Duterte could not hide his displeasure over the series of unfortunate events that have rocked the PNP over the past few weeks leading to the resignation of Gen. Albayalde.

Officials who attended a joint PNP-Armed Forces command conference at Malacañang Palace on Tuesday night told the Journal Group on Wednesday that the Commander-in-Chief was angry over the developments in the police force despite the fact that he has given them everything they need, from a doubled salary to getting all their “move, shoot, communicate and investigate” tools.

“Lahat naman ng nag-attend doon napakinggan nila iyon. It’s a challenge on my leadership, kahit na OIC ako, that I should do something about the impression of the President. Hindi naman kailangan ko pang, ‘Sir ano bang gawin natin?’ Dapat may initiative ako kung anong dapat kong gawin at ipiniprepara ko iyan,” Gamboa, a lawyer-classmate of Gen. Albayalde from Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 told a DzMM interview.

Banac said that they understand the President’s concern. “Nauunawaan namin ang pagkadismaya ng Pangulo sa PNP. Bilang aming Commander-in-Chief, tinatanaw namin ang kanyang pahayag na isang hamon sa buong hanay para sa pagbabago. Makakaasa ang ating publiko ng patuloy na paglilingkod at maigting na kampanya laban sa krimen, drug at sa mga tiwaling pulis na walang puwang sa ating hanay,” Banac said.

Gamboa assured the public that he will be overseeing a review of the charges against Baloyo and his men. “Abogado naman ako and baka matingnan natin nang maayos. Rest assured sa publiko, wala itong bias,” he said while explaining that the case could be forwarded to other summary hearing offices if he is not satisfied with the appreciation of the evidence.

Including Baloyo, who is in the New Bilibid Prisons, all the alleged ninja cops have been accounted for by the PNP Personnel Holding and Administrative Unit except for one, Master Sergeant Ronald Santos.

Gamboa said he has also tasked the PNP Internal Affairs Service and Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management to present its backlog and timeframe in resolving cases during an evaluative conference on Saturday. 

Lt. Gen. Gamboa and the other top contenders for the PNP chief post: PNP Deputy Chief for Operations, Lt. Gen. Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan, PNP Chief, Major Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar  and Manila Police District director, Brigadier Gen. Vicente D. Danao Jr. were among the top officials present during the command conference.