Oscar Albayalde
This file photo shows Police General Oscar Albayalde, who resigned as chief of the Philippine National Police amid allegations that he protected his former subordinates who were accused of reselling drugs.
The STAR/Boy Santos, file
PNP: All accused in ‘ninja cops’ controversy remain innocent until proven guilty
Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - October 19, 2019 - 5:26pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police on Saturday said its former chief, Police General Oscar Albayalde, and the cops tagged in the reselling of seized narcotics “remain innocent until proven guilty.”

The PNP made the remarks after a Senate panel recommended the filing of drug and graft charges against Albayalde and 13 of his former subordinates who were accused of “recycling” P1 billion worth of “shabu” (meth) that was confiscated during a raid in Pampanga in 2013.

“The PNP will let justice, fairness, and due process of law take its course. All accused remain innocent until proven guilty," the PNP said in a statement.

"We leave it to Police General Oscar Albayalde and the other concerned PNP personnel, with their respective legal teams to address the other side issues that may come with their possible criminal indictment as recommended by the Senate panel," it added.

At a Senate hearing earlier this month, Albayalde was accused of protecting his former men — nicknamed “Ninja cops” — from dismissal and of receiving some of the money from the reselling of drugs. He was the provincial police director of Pampanga at the time of the controversial raid.

Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, said Albayalde did a “monumental cover-up”.

Amid the scandal, Albayalde stepped down on Monday less than a month before his retirement on November 8. He had denied the allegations and previously said that efforts to destroy him are part of the internal power struggle within the police force to prevent him from recommending to the president his choice of successor.

President Rodrigo Duterte — who unleashed a bloody narcotics crackdown — reportedly gave top PNP officials a dressing down during a command conference at Malacañang last Tuesday and expressed “utmost disappointment” over recent controversies involving rogue policemen. 

In the same statement Saturday, the PNP vowed to win back Duterte’s trust.

"The PNP is responsive to the President Duterte’s challenge and the public’s call for change. We fully understand his frustrations and misgivings over the recent turn of events involving some PNP personnel. But we will not let him down," it said.

"We assure our people that the PNP remains on track with renewed vigor to reform itself into the ideal shape to fight crime, illegal drugs, and corruption," it added.

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