Albayalde welcomes chance to clear name
Albayalde said this will give him the chance to clear his name over the controversy that has hounded him since 2013.

Albayalde welcomes chance to clear name

Romina Cabrera (The Philippine Star) - January 18, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Retired Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde has welcomed the filing of graft charges against him in connection with the case of the “ninja cops,” which led to his stepping down from the helm of the force last year.

Albayalde said this will give him the chance to clear his name over the controversy that has hounded him since 2013. 

“I welcome this development as the chance to once and for all clear my name in the proper forum. My conscience remains clear and I am confident that the truth will bear me out in the end,” he said in a statement. 

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recommended the indictment of Albayalde for graft in connection with the anti-illegal drug operation wherein millions of pesos of shabu was allegedly recycled back to the street by police officers in 2013. 

The DOJ recommended the filing of charges against the embattled former PNP official for supposedly “persuading, inducting or influencing public officers.”

It anchored its findings on his non-implementation of an order that would have penalized police officers involved in the drug operation.

DOJ spokesman Undersecretary Markk Perete said they will file the appropriate charges against Albayalde before the Office of the Ombudsman after the prosecutor general approved the endorsement for filing of cases against him.  

“The endorsement has already been approved by the PG (Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento). It will not pass through the OSEC (office of the secretary),” Perete told reporters yesterday. 

But Perete could not yet tell when the endorsement will be transmitted to the Office of the Ombudsman.  

He said the Office of the Ombudsman usually approves endorsement made by the DOJ, but emphasized that it may decide to conduct its own preliminary investigation or proceed with the filing of charges before the Sandiganbayan. 

Albayalde went on non-duty status weeks before his official retirement after the controversy went public in the Senate hearing on the ninja cops issue. He was succeeded by Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa as officer-in-charge of the 190,000-strong PNP. 

 – With Artemio Dumlao, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Robertzon Ramirez, Christina Mendez

President Duterte, in a speech before the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Davao City yesterday, said he will appoint Gamboa as “regular PNP chief” but after he, Gamboa and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, will have “a long, long talk.”

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said they respect the DOJ’s finding of probable cause against Albayalde on his supposed violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act.

“It is an opportunity for Albayalde to defend himself in a forum or atmosphere where his constitutional rights will be observed and duly guaranteed,” said Año.

Año added that the DOJ finding does not contradict those of the DILG, which dismissed the administrative charges against Albayalde following the guidance of Duterte. 

Año earlier said their investigation found no evidence against Albayalde directly linking him to the controversial drug operation in 2013. 

“Let justice take its course,” he said. 

Malacañang welcomed the filing of graft charges against Albayalde.

“The Department of Justice just did its job. General Albayalde will now have a forum to address the charge. He can avail of all the legal remedies. The Constitution accords him the presumption of innocence until a competent court finds him guilty beyond reasonable doubt,” presidential spokesman and chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo said yesterday.

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