Albayalde likely to face graft, negligence, conspiracy charges – Gordon

Marje Pelayo   •   October 15, 2019   •   735

Former PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde (L) and Senator Richard Gordon (R)

MANILA, Philippines – Senate blue ribbon committee chair Senator Richard Gordo said they are likely to recommend charges of graft and corruption, negligence and conspiracy against resigned PNP chief Oscar Albayalde.

Gordon noted the testimony of retired general Rudy Lacadin in the previous Senate hearing which accused Albayalde of benefiting from the drug recycling controversy in Pampanga as among the main factors for the possible lawsuit against the former PNP Chief.

So even after Albayalde relinquished his position, he is not yet off the hook, according to Gordon.

“Neglect of duty, life sentences,” Gordon said.

Senator Bong Go likewise agreed that if Albayalde is found guilty of participation in the drug recycling controversy, he should be held liable in court.

“Kung may ebidensya, managot ang dapat managot (If there is evidence then he who is liable should be sued),” the senator added.

Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo Lacson believes that Albayalde no longer has the chance to clear his name because of his resignation.

Gordon believes that the testimony of former police officer Ronald Santos will shed light as to how Albayalde and the 13 ninja cops profited from the seized illegal drugs and from the vehicles used in the operations in 2013.

He considers Santos as the missing link towards the resolution of the case.

The senator said there should be strict monitoring now in the PNP which should include even the replacement of Albayalde in the PNP chief position.

“Ang kinakailangan lang ang magpapatakbo ay mahigpit. Kahit na pulis iyan, kaagad dapat ang mismong pulis, suspended ka na at ang imbestigasyon tapusin kaagad,” Gordon said.

(The chief must have an iron fist. Even if it involves a cop, that police must be suspended and the investigation should be promptly completed.)

Despite the suspension of the Senate session, Gordon said he wants his committee to push through with the inquiry this week.

Lost “moral high ground

The former PNP chief’s accuser, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, believes the mounting pressure compelled Albayalde to resign and such gesture provided a breather for the institution to move on.

“Sa tingin ko nararamdaman na rin niya ang pressure lalong lalo na sa kaniyang mga subordinates (I think he already felt the pressure especially from his subordinates),” the former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief said.

“Ikaw ba naman, hindi ka na rin gaanong pinapansin, anong mararamdaman mo? (If it were you being ignored, how would you feel?) So you lost the moral high ground to lead. Pinakamabuting gagawin ay mag-resign (The best that you can do is to resign),” Magalong added.

Magalong stressed, however, that what happened to Albayalde should not cause the public to lose trust in the PNP.

“Kokonti lang po yung may kalokohan na iyan (Only a few cops can be considered scalawags),” he said.

“Magtiwala lang tayo sa ating kapulisan, (Let us trust our police force,)” he added.

The former police officer, meanwhile, said he is ready should Albayalde decide to file countercharges against him. MNP (with details from Grace Casin, Nestor Torres,  and Grace Doctolero)

Contact tracing czar Magalong tests positive for COVID-19

UNTV News   •   April 3, 2021

 

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong

MANILA, Philippines — Baguio City mayor and the country’s contact tracing czar, Benjamin Magalong on Saturday confirmed that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

“It is with a sad note that I would like to inform everyone that as of my RT-PCR test conducted yesterday morning (April 2, 2021), to which my results came out at 4:30pm of the same day, I was tested positive of the Covid-19 virus,” he said in a statement.

He said contact tracing efforts are underway for those he had come into close contact with and advised everybody to observe the minimum health standards.

Magalong added that the news came out as a devastating blow for him and his family.

“The seriousness of this pandemic is something that we should not take for granted.  It is a difficult situation and I don’t want anyone of you to be in this condition as it is emotionally, psychologically and financially difficult for our loved ones to bear,” he said.

He assured however, that despite his current predicament, his team will continue to closely monitor the City’s situation and coordinate with proper authorities the necessary actions to be taken.

“Again, I am calling for everyone’s consideration to further observe protocols.  Let us do this for our family, our friends and everyone we care for,” the official said.

 

Roque ‘100% sure’ Duterte wants Magalong to stay as contact tracing czar

Robie de Guzman   •   February 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday said he is “100 percent sure” that President Rodrigo Duterte wants Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong to stay as the country’s contract tracing czar.

This is despite Magalong’s move to tender his resignation from the post after he was recently criticized over his attendance at a party organized by media personality Tim Yap which allegedly violated health protocols.

In an online press briefing, Roque said Duterte only has “words of praises” for Magalong in his competence to lead the government’s contact tracing efforts against COVID-19.

“I have heard with my own two ears, nothing but words of praises for mayor magalong from the president, so I am 100 percent sure that president would want to stay on as tracing czar,” Roque said.

Roque last week announced that the National Task Force against COVID-19 has rejected the resignation of Magalong.

Magalong, in a media interview earlier, said his resignation was irrevocable but he might stay as a contact tracing czar if Duterte asks him to do so.

Magalong resigns as Contact Tracing Czar but NTF says ‘no’

Marje Pelayo   •   January 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong submitted his resignation as the country’s Contact Tracing Czar after his attendance in a party organized by entertainment personality Tim Yap drew flak for violating some health safety protocols.

Among those seen to have violated the government health restrictions was Magalong’s wife.

In his resignation letter addressed to NTF Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr., Magalong admitted to having failed the government for not immediately acting on the violations on the night of the event.

“In hindsight, being a senior officer of the Task Force, I should have done an immediate spot correction of the errors that I witnessed during that time,” he explained.

With this, the Mayor accepted the blame and said he is willing to support should the NTF or the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) conduct an investigation on the incident.

“It pains me to see my family, and my constituents, in anguish over this but I am committed to hold myself accountable and do what is necessary to rectify this misstep.” Magalong said.

His colleagues in the NTF were saddened by Magalong’s sudden decision.

According to Galvez, Magalong’s exit will hugely impact the operations of the NTF.

“Malaking kawalan po sa amin iyon kasi po, 4 po ang haligi po ng ating PDITR, at isa po talaga ang contact tracing lalo na po ngayon sa mga adverse event,” Galvez explained.

“Kaliangan po ang syndromic surveillance at contact tracing and we can vouch for his honor and integrity,” he added.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that the Task Force is not accepting Magalong’s resignation. 

“Mayor Magalong’s resignation, however, has not been accepted. He continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of the leadership of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19,” he said.

For the part of the Department of Health (DOH), Magalong should remain in his position.

“He has helped the contact tracing efforts of the country a lot. Actually yung ating pakikipagtulungan kay Mayor Magalong is on that level na pagka kailangan talaga is tumatawag tayo sa kanya kasi he can really assist us,” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

“We know that the President has that trust and the DOH also trusts Mayor Magalong and we also believe that he should remain in that position,” she added.

The NTF appeals to the public for understanding to give Magalong another chance given his contribution to the country’s COVID-19 response. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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