THE Philippine National Police yesterday said it fully respects the findings of the Department of Justice on former PNP chief now retired General Oscar D. Albayalde who was indicted by the DOJ along with 12 other policemen over a controversial 2013 anti-narcotics operation in Mexico, Pampanga.
“The PNP respects the findings of the DOJ. Former PNP chief, PGen. Oscar Albayalde was given a fair chance to explain his side. Still, the DOJ panel found probable cause to indict him for graft,” said PNP spokesman Brigadier General Bernard M. Banac.
“However, he (Albayalde) remains innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt,” Banac added.
The DOJ panel said it would submit its findings to the Office of the Ombudsman.
Albayalde also welcomed the DOJ decision saying it will give him the chance to fully defend himself in court and prove his innocence of the charges against him.
“I welcome this development as the chance to once and for all clear my name in the proper forum. Finally, I will have my day in court,” he said. He also expressed confidence the truth will prevail in the end.
“My conscience remains clear, and I am confident that the truth will bear me out in the end,” Albayalde said.
On Thursday, a panel of DOJ state prosecutors said they found probable cause to charge Albayalde with “violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations in connection with the official duties of the latter, and for causing any undue injury to any party, including the government.”
The panel however cleared Albayalde, a member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986, of charges of misappropriating confiscated drugs, falsifying public documents, and failure to prosecute police officers.
The panel also found probable cause to indict 12 other police officers for several violations, including qualified bribery, planting of evidence and delay and bungling in the prosecution of drug cases, among others.
Among those indicted were: Police Lieutenant Colonel. Rodney Raymundo Louie Juico Baloyo IV; Police Lt. Joven Bagnot De Guzman, Jr.; Police Master Sergeants Jules Lacap Maniago, Donald Castro Roque, Ronald Bayas Santos, Rommel Muñoz Vital, Alcindor Mangiduyos Tinio, Eligio Dayos Valeroso and Dante Mercado Dizon; and Police Staff Sgts. Dindo Singian Dizon, Gilbert Angeles De Vera, and Romeo Encarnacio Guerrero Jr.
One of the accused, Corporal Anthony Loleng Lacsamana, was cleared of charges for insufficient evidence after the panel found that he was not part of the operation.
Albayalde resigned as PNP chief in October 14 last year, 25 days before his actual 56th birthday as he faced allegations of protecting his men linked to selling seized illegal drugs during his time as director of the Pampanga Police Provincial Office.
The officers were tagged in pilfering some 160 kilos of shabu from a 2013 operation against a suspected Chinese drug lord.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra asked the panel in October 2019 to reinvestigate allegations surrounding the 2013 drug raid after former PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief Police Major General Benjamin B. Magalong, now the mayor of Baguio City, and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chair Director General Aaron N. Aquino accused Albayalde of intervening in the case of the Pampanga officers.
The two retired police officials said Albayalde, then chief of Pampanga police, made calls to ensure the accused police officers would be spared from being axed. Former Police Regional Office 3 director, now retired Brig. Gen. Rudy Lacadin also claimed that Albayalde not only tried to influence the outcome of the investigation but even admitted of partaking in the drug loot, allegations vehemently denied by the former PNP chief.