PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Oscar D. Albayalde yesterday rejected calls for him to resign in the wake of the “ninja cops” issue.
In an interview on ANC, the beleaguered PNP chief also speculated that linking him to the “ninja cops” case is meant to force him to resign or seek early retirement as head of the country’s police force.
“What I see is their end game. I will not fall into that trap,” he said when asked if he considers resigning ahead of his 56th birthday this coming November 8.
“I think this is all about that… I think that’s a trap,” said the member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986.
There have been calls from different quarters for Gen. Albayalde to step down in order to spare the police force from further embarrassment.
Some said he could do what PMA Superintendent Lieutenant General Ronnie Evangelista and PMA Commandant of Cadets, Brigadier General Bartolome Vicente Bacarro have done: the two resigned in the aftermath of the hazing death of PMA 4th Class Cadet Darwin Dormitorio citing the principle of command responsibility, which earnied them praises from the public.
Netizens also have been having a field day bashing the PNP chief. Different Facebook posts written by some who obviously have an ax to grind against Gen. Albayalde wondered why he has presented to the press and castigated small-time policemen involved in different irregularities but kept mum on the Pampanga policemen until the Senate hearing.
PNP spokesman Brigadier General Bernard M. Banac however said that the PNP won’t be affected by the ongoing controversy and would continue its drive versus drugs, criminality, terror and corruption.
Banac said that police are really saddened by the controversy although issues are not exactly new to the force. “We take it as a challenge to better serve the public,” said the PNP spokesperson as he brushed off suggestions for a “loyalty check” in the PNP.
Banac also wished that despite the controversy, the Filipino people will continue to trust the PNP.
Officials who have worked with the PNP chief said that if they could have their way, they also want him to tender his courtesy resignation in order to spare him and his family from further controversy.
They cited the case of former PNP chief Gen. Alan LM Purisima whose family was scandalized after the latter got embroiled in a controversy in 2014 which led to his eventual downfall.
In 2014, Purisima’s detractors accused him of owning a multi-million-peso property. He was later ordered suspended until he figured anew in the now infamous Mamasapano incident which killed 44 PNP Special Action Force commandos.
In July 2017, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered a forfeiture case filed against Purisima for allegedly amassing P29.2 million in ill-gotten wealth during his time in office. She also ordered forfeiture cases filed before the Sandiganbayan against Purisima’s wife, Ma Ramona Lydia Purisima, and their four sons.
However, Gen. Albayalde said he will wait for word from President Duterte on whether he should still hold his post.
He also said that he cannot speculate if his main accuser, retired General-turned Baguio City Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong was not acting alone in dragging him into the irregular anti-drug operation in Pampanga in November 2013 in a Senate investigation on Tuesday.
Albayalde was the Pampanga Police Provincial Office director while Magalong, his upperclassman from PMA ‘Sandigan’ Class of 1982 was the director of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group during that time.
During the Senate hearing on Tuesday, Magalong alleged that Albayalde intervened in the dismissal order of 13 police officers involved in the operation, charges which were vehemently denied by the PNP chief.
Senators found out that the order for their dismissal was downgraded to a one-rank demotion in 2017. Albayalde was administratively relieved as Pampanga police director to pave the way for an impartial investigation in March 2014.
Gen. Albayalde also claimed that Magalong, who retired as PNP Deputy Chief for Operations in 2016, asked for a “little favor” from him sometime between 2006 and 2010. He however did not reveal any further details.
Magalong had maintained it would be better for all of them to stick to the main issue. He also said he doesn’t like the idea of having policemen-bodyguards since it would be too expensive for him.