Albayalde could be criminally liable — Guevarra

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MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) has added the name of then PNP top cop Gen. Oscar Albayalde as respondent of criminal charges being investigated by the Department of Justice.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Albayalde’s inclusion in the amended complaint affidavit filed by PNP-CIDG “is a reflection of their assessment that the former top cop may be held criminally liable.”

The justice chief said that for its part, the DOJ will conduct a fair and thorough investigation of the old and the new charges but promised they will afford Gen. Albayalde his inherent right to due process.

The amended complaint contains new charges against Albayalde for misappropriating confiscated drugs in violation of the dangerous drugs law, graft, falsifying public documents, and failing to prosecute a team of Pampanga policemen allegedly involved in drug recycling.

He was added into the charge sheet by the CIDG as a respondent days after two Senate committees recommended that he be charged in connection with a controversial operation involving his men when he was Pampanga police chief back in 2013.

Meanwhile, Albayalde said he welcomes his inclusion in CIDG’s amended complaint saying at least he will be accorded due process.

Albayade will be the 14th respondent in the complaint that originally sought the prosecution of 13 police officers who allegedly failed to declare the entire quantity of the drugs they seized in a 29 November 2013 anti-drug operation in Mexico, Pampanga even as he accordingly allowed an arrested suspect go free allegedly in exchange for P55 million and an SUV.

The original complaint filed against the erring policemen was dismissed by prosecutors.

However, Guevarra ordered a reinvestigation of the case due to the new development that cropped up during the Senate probe that revealed alleged irregularities in the operation.

A preliminary investigation before the DOJ will determine whether or not prosecutors will file a case against the respondents in court.

In the CIDG amended complaint it cited statements by witnesses in Senate hearings, which they said “established the respondents’ grand cover-up and the non-declaration of the true quantity of illegal drugs seized, money, and other items seized during the said operation.”

Apparently, Albayalde attempted to influence Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief and former Central Luzon police chief Aaron Aquino against implementing administrative charges against the 13 policemen.

Witnesses claimed Albayalde had called former CIDG deputy director for operations Rudy Lacadin to influence him in the CIDG’s validation process.

The CIDG said when Albayalde was the Provincial Director of Pampanga Police Provincial Office, he failed to initiate an investigation over the said incident when its irregularities started to unfold.

Charges were also added by the CIDG against Police Major Rodney Raymundo Louie Baloyo IV and 12 other policemen on top of the existing complaint for misappropriation of seized drugs, planting of evidence, and violating regulations by the Dangerous Drugs Board.

The complaint against the erring policemen also accuses the so-called “ninja cops” of delaying and bungling the prosecution of drug cases, graft, and qualified bribery.

The PNP-CIDG complaint charged Baloyo two counts of violation of the Revised Penal Code for falsifying reports in connection with the operation; and officers Joven Bognot De Guzman Jr., Ronald Santos, and Romeo Guerrero Jr. for false testimony and perjury. (KR/IAmigo/CNS)

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