Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, said the panel has acquired evidence of the involvement of some high-ranking policemen.
Edd Gumban/File
Guessing game continues: Who are the ‘ninja cops?’
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - September 29, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Three days ahead of the Senate hearing on the “ninja cops” issue, the guessing game continues on the identities of the policemen involved in recycling seized illegal drugs.

Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, said the panel has acquired evidence of the involvement of some high-ranking policemen.

Gordon said they were able to trace the policemen involved through a paper trail.

“I think it may be said that there are some foolish policemen. They thought they are beyond the law,” Gordon said.

The issue of ninja cops came into play following the revelations of Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, who last week told an executive session of the Senate about police officers involved in drug recycling when he was director of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

He told the committee of a particular case in 2014 where a group of police officers conducted a major anti-drug raid but the bulk of the drugs were not declared but sold through the help of convicted drug traffickers at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

Some of the police officers involved in that incident are still in active service, he warned.

Outgoing Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde was also linked to allegations that he is protecting his subordinates involved in the drug trade.

During the Senate hearing, National Police Commission (Napolcom) vice chairman Rogelio Casurao brought up the time when Albayalde was relieved as provincial police director of Pampanga following a drug sting operation that went haywire in 2014.

Albayalde had been relieved after his men were accused of irregularities in an operation that resulted in the confiscation of millions of pesos worth of shabu and the arrest of a Chinese in Mexico, Pampanga.?

However, Albayalde was not charged while his men were filed with criminal charges that were later dismissed. The policemen involved were suspended and demoted.

Gordon said Magalong will appear before the panel on Tuesday to personally meet the police officials that he had mentioned during the closed-door session with senators.

He said the Senate will also invite Albayalde and the policemen Magalong had named during the Senate executive session to clarify the information.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Albayalde will have the opportunity to clear his name by attending the hearing on Tuesday.

Lacson said he has prepared some questions for Albayalde, particularly in the case of the Pampanga raid.

Lacson said he was puzzled why the case against Albayalde and his men was commuted to only three months suspension.

Albayalde, for his part, said he was dumbfounded over the revival of “recycled” issues against him with only a few weeks before he is set to retire. 

“I really do not know why the issue was diverted to a very old issue, a recycled one. I really do not know. Maybe that’s part of public service,” Albayalde said. 

“This is a recycled thing, I don’t know why. The problem is with the Senate. But I have so many times explained this,” he added.

He lamented the PNP is “being blamed for everything” on the issues that have recently cropped up. 

Albayalde said he has already talked with President Duterte on the state of the drug war, adding he provided documents regarding the actions taken against rogue policemen. – With Romina Cabrera, Robertzon Ramirez 

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