PDEA chief retracts, says Albayalde asked him not to enforce order vs 13 ‘ninja cops’

Robie de Guzman   •   October 4, 2019   •   246

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino has admitted that Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde had asked him not to enforce the dismissal order against 13 Pampanga policemen who were tagged as ‘ninja cops.’

Aquino earlier said in a previous Senate hearing that Albayalde called him in 2016 to ask about the status of the case against the cops.

The 13 cops were ordered dismissed for their alleged involvement in a controversial anti-drug operation.

Albayalde, who was then the head of Pampanga provincial police, was relieved from his post for command responsibility.

In a hearing Thursday, the PDEA chief claimed that in the same phone conversation, Albayalde requested him not to implement the order.

“General Albayalde called me up to know that status of the case of (Police Supt. Rodney) Baloyo and others, it’s the truth. He also added during the same request and I quote: ‘Sir, baka puwede niyo munang hindi i-implement ang order.’ Then I asked him, ‘Bakit Oca?’ Where he answered ‘Kasi mga tao ko sila,’” Aquino said.

The dismissal order for the 13 alleged ‘ninja cops’ were issued on Nov. 14, 2014 but it was only in March 2016 that the accused received a copy of the order and were able to file for a motion for reconsideration.

A decision partially granting the cops’ plea was issued in Oct. 17, 2017.

Albayalde, however, denied Aquino’s claim and maintained that he only asked for the status and did not intervene in the case.

He also expressed willingness to reopen the investigation on the case.

“You cannot implement a dismissal while the MR is ongoing. That’s basic,” he said.

“Walang nag-iba sa desisyon. That call for the status is pretty normal,” he added.

In response to Albayalde’s denial Aquino said, “Maybe, he cannot recall what he said. Pero ‘yun ang nare-recall ko na nasabi niya sa akin.”

Following his revelation on ‘ninja cops’ issue, Aquino told the Senate panel he has been receiving death threats targeting his family.

“I was thinking of my family who is now put in much deeper danger. A few days ago, I received a phone call from my friend who confirmed that some personalities are plotting against my family,” he said.

Former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief and now Baguio City Mayor Benajmin Magalong also previously revealed he has been getting death threats after he named several cops allegedly engaging in the scheme of recycling or reselling illegal drugs seized during operation.

“His family is in danger so ganun din ang nangyayari sa akin ngayon. Kung ano ang nangyayari kay General Magalong ganun din nangyayari sa akin,” Aquino said.

Among those tagged as ‘ninja cops’ were Baloyo, Senior Insp. Joven de Guzman, Senior Police Officers 1 Jules Maniago, Donaldo Roque, Rommel Vital, Ronald Santos, Eligio Valeroso, Alcindor Tinio, Police Officers 3 Romeo Guerrero Jr., Dante Dizon, Dindo Dizon, Gilbert de Vera and Police Officer 2 Anthony Lacsamana.

The 13 police officers are currently on floating status. – RRD (with details from Correspondent April Cenedoza)

ICAD’s Aquino expresses support for Co-Chair Robredo, admits feeling ‘awkward’

Marje Pelayo   •   November 7, 2019

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino (R) and Vice President Leni Robredo (L)

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Inter-Agency Council on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) have signified their support for the agency’s co-chairperson Vice President Leni Robredo.

Dangerous Drugs Board Chair Catalino Cuy said they expect that Robredo will contribute improvements to the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs and is confident that the system will be free of any political motives.

“ The war on drugs is black and white. It has no political color. The success of anyone is our success,” Cuy said.

“Iyan ang target natin kaya nga ‘whole of nation’ approach dito. We welcome lahat ng sector, how much more the VP? The more na kailangan din natin ng kanyang view,” he added.

(TRANSLATION: That is our target, that’s why it is a “whole of nation” approach. We welcome all sectors, how much more the VP? We need her views all the more.)

Aside from DDB, other agencies who expressed support for Robredo were the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“Ang partisipasyon ng Vice President ay napakalaking bagay. Dala niya ang kanyang opisina (The Vice President’s participation is a big contribution. She carries with her the) office of the vice president,” said PNP Spokesman PBGen. Bernard Banac.

“Siya mismo ay magiging isa sa mga inspirasyon natin at ang ating kampanya laban sa ilegal na droga ay magiging matagumpay (She herself will be among our inspirations and our campaign against illegal drugs will be a success),” he added.

ICAD is comprised of four clusters – the enforcement cluster, the justice cluster, advocacy cluster, and the rehabilitation and reintegration cluster.

Cuy said they cannot identify exactly what the role of the Vice President will be as the drug czar since they are still waiting for a schedule to meet with her.

But the official said, whichever of the four clusters Robredo wishes to focus on, she definitely has their support.

“The DDB will be willing to give the full assistance and support to the Vice President,” Cuy said.

“We are willing to give briefing for her of the anti-drug strategy being implemented,” he added.

Meanwhile, PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino expressed his full support for Robredo though he admits that it would feel different working with the Vice President.

 “The help of Vice President Robredo is very much appreciated especially in terms of harm and demand reduction efforts. We are ready to assist the Vice President in her new task. After all, the objective is the same — to eliminate the drug problem in our country.” he said.

“While this is a welcome development for the illegal drug campaign, personally I cannot help but feel somehow awkward to have the second-highest elected official of the country as my co-chairman,” he added.

For now, the DDB and PDEA are waiting for a call from Robredo to be able to start the discussion on her roles inside the agency. MNP (with details from Lea Ylagan)

No basis to file administrative raps vs Albayalde over ‘ninja cops’ issue – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   November 6, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday said it has found no substantial evidence to file an administrative complaint against former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Oscar Albayalde.

This is in relation to the alleged anomalies in a 2013 drug raid conducted by 13 Pampanga police officers, tagged as “ninja cops” for allegedly pilfering and recycling part of the illegal drugs they confiscated during the operation.

Albayalde was the provincial police head when the controversial operation occurred.

“Albayalde is liable for command responsibility; that is why he was relieved as Pampanga Provincial Director in 2014,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.

“However, since he already relinquished his post as chief of PNP, he can no longer be relieved of his position at this time,” he added.

Albayalde relinquished his post and went on a non-duty status on Oct. 14 following allegations of his involvement in the anomalous raid.

He is set to retire from police service on Friday, Nov. 8.

The PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group included Albayalde as among the respondents in its amended referral complaint about the “ninja cops” issue.

Año said the cases against Albayalde will be up to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Ombudsman.

As to the 13 “ninja cops,” the DILG chief said new administrative charges will be filed in light of the new evidence gathered against them.

“The filing of new administrative charges against these Ninja cops is in light of new evidence gathered by the Joint DILG-Napolcom Review Committee as well as those that came out during the Senate Investigation,” Año said.

“The President has given his guidance to the DILG to pursue the administrative cases against the 13 Ninja cops which we have already started,” he added.

The DILG said the charges being pursued against these cops include serious irregularity in the performance of duty, dishonesty and grave misconduct.

These cops are also facing criminal charges before the DOJ.

“The charges to be filed against them will not be for the same offenses for which they were charged in the past. Moreover, the complaining witness this time will be the Napolcom which is vested with competent jurisdiction on the matter, hence, res judicata will not apply,” DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in a statement.

Malaya said that the Joint Review Committee subpoenaed 21 persons composed of personalities who testified at the Senate.

The committee also reviewed documentary evidence consisting of the transcript of stenographic notes from the Senate hearings, as well as pertinent documents related to the 2013 Lakeshore incident.

Año also said that the National Police Commission has convened a Summary Hearing board to hear the charges against the alleged ninja cops.

He added that the summary dismissal proceedings against the respondents can be completed within 45 calendar days “without violating their right to due process.”

“Pending the resolution of their cases, the respondents will be placed under restrictive custody at Camp Crame,” he said.

Albayalde asks DOJ to dismiss charges against him

Maris Federez   •   November 5, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief PGen Oscar Albayalde appealed to the Department of Justice to dismiss the complaints filed against him on the alleged anomalous operation of the so-called ninja cops in Mexico, Pampanga in 2013.

Albayalde said the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detention Group (CIDG) failed to present solid evidence against him in filing the charges, which stemmed from the allegation that the drugs seized in the drug raid in Pampanga with a street value of P648-million were recycled by the ninja cops.

The former police chief made the appeal during the DOJ’s investigation on the activities of the said ninja cops, in which he is facing a violation of the Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Acts of 2002 for the alleged wrongful storage of the confiscated illegal drugs.

In his counter-affidavit, Albayalde insisted that the accusation against him by the CIDG has no basis and that the DOJ has no jurisdiction to reopen the case.

Albayalde is also facing corruption charges for allegedly impeding the dismissal order against the said ninja cops.

The PNP-CIDG, on the other hand, is confident that the DOJ will indict Albayalde and the 13 ninja cops.

“Sa tingin ko mga 70 to 80 percent, I believe so. He is liable and probable cause lang naman hinahanap natin ditto,” said Police Lt. Col Joseph Orsos, Chief of the PNP CIDG Legal Division.

The DOJ will resume its investigation on Monday (November 11). (from the report of Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

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