THE Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group yesterday included resigned PNP chief General Oscar D. Albayalde in the amended cases against 13 former Pampanga policemen accused of involvement in a highly-irregular anti-narcotics raid in 2013.
The amended complaint filed before the Department of Justice includes violation of Section 92 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, graft, qualified bribery, perjury, falsification of public documents and dereliction of duty.
Sec. 92 of RA 9165 refers to “Delay and Bungling in the Prosecution of Drug Cases.” It says that “any government officer or employee tasked with the prosecution of drug-related cases who, through patent laxity, inexcusable neglect, unreasonable delay or deliberately causes the unsuccessful prosecution and/or dismissal of the said drug cases, shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years without prejudice to his/her prosecution under the pertinent provisions of the Revised Penal Code. “
The resigned PNP chief welcomed his inclusion in the PNP-CIDGs amended complaint saying he will be given at least due process.
Albayalde became the 14th respondent in the complaint that originally sought the prosecution for drug offenses of 13 alleged ninja cops who were accused of only declaring 38 kilos out of the estimated 100 kilograms of shabu they seized, freeing a suspected Chinese drug lord for P50 million and arresting another foreigner and presenting him to the press.
Government prosecutors have dismissed the complaints against the 13 policemen but Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered the reinvestigation of the case in the aftermath of the series of Senate inquiries which triggered the resignation of Albayalde who was the director of the Pampanga Police Provincial Office when the alleged drug shenanigans took place.
The other respondent-lawmen are Police Major Rodney Baloyo IV, Police Senior Inspector Joven Bognot Jr., Senior Police Officer I Jules Maniago, SPO1 Donald Roque, SPO1 Ronald Santos, SPO1 Rommel Vital, SPO1 Alcindor Tinio.
SPO1 Eligio Valeroso, Police Officer III (PO3) Dindo Dizon, PO3 Gilbert de Vera PO3 Encarnacion Guerrero Jr., PO2 Anthony Lacsamana, and PO3 Dante Dizon.
Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Q. Orsos, PNP/CIDG Legal Division chief, told reporters in a chance interview that probers used as basis testimonial evidence from witnesses, and the report of the Senate which extensively investigated the controversy.
“Mga lumang ebidensya at yung transcript sa Senate. Totality of the evidence shows that he is probably liable. Yung probability lang,” he said when asked about the police’s basis in filing the amended complaint against Albayalde.
It was learned that the PNP-CIDG presented new witnesses, including barangay officials from Mexico town in Pampanga.
During the Senate inquiry, Albayalde was also accused by then PNP-CIDG chief Benjamin Magalong of seeking to defer the dismissal order against his former subordinates.
The former PNP chief last week relinquished his post ahead of his retirement on November 8.
The DOJ panel said it would allow the respondents to file a counter-affidavit and set the next hearing on November 5.
Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete disclosed that Albayalde will now undergo preliminary investigation.
“If there’s a finding of probable cause, then makakasama siya (Albayalde) sa mga akusado and it will go to the trial court,” Perete said.
Palace hands off
Malacañang will not yet pass judgment on Albayalde and will leave it to prosecutors to assess if he should be charged for the drug recycling case of his former subordinates.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said prosecutors would be the ones to determine if there is probable cause to also indict the resigned Philippine National Police chief in the case.
“Whatever the findings, the recommendation is up to them [the Senate]. But whether or not the cases will be filed and the nature of the case filed against them, will be the discretion of the prosecutors who will assess the evidence,” Panelo said yesterday
He pointed out that “whether they are guilty or not is up to the courts, assuming it passes the prosecutors’ level.”
“If there are charges, they should file it. There will be a trial in the courts if it passes the level of the one investigating in the prosecution department,” Panelo said.
He made the remarks after a Senate joint panel recommended the filing of illegal drugs and graft charges against Albayalde and 13 so-called ninja cops, who were his former subordinates when he was Pampanga provincial police director.
Panelo said the President would still wait for the findings of the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) own probe into the 2013 ninja cops scandal involving Albayalde’s men.
“He will act on the recommendation of DILG secretary (Eduardo Año) on his investigation. He said he will not interfere with the Senate investigation and that he will wait for the DILG investigation since the PNP is under the DILG,” the Palace official said.
With Hector Lawas, EMontano