MANILA (UPDATE)- A former chief of the Central Luzon regional police on Wednesday dragged Philippine National Police chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde into the allegedly anomalous 2013 raid in Mexico, Pampanga where cops allegedly made off with millions worth of shabu.
Retired police official Rudy Lacadin said Albayalde called him up to inquire about the case of the so-called "ninja cops" who were ordered dismissed over the raid.
Lacadin then claimed Albayalde told him that some of the drug loot went to him but "only a little."
"There was a time that during the investigation… he called me up. [He said] ‘Sir, parang naimbestigahan niyo raw kami,’” Lacadin told a Senate hearing.
(There was a time that during the investigation… he called me up. [He said] “Sir, I heard you were investigating us.)
“‘Yes Oca, I cannot inform you na nagko-conduct ako ng investigation, but if you have nothing to hide wala naman kayong dapat katakutan,’” Lacadin recalled telling Albayalde.
(Yes Oca. I cannot inform you that were investigating you, but if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.)
Lacadin said Albayalde then replied: “Actually sir konti lang naman ang napunta sa akin.”
(Actually, sir, only a little went to me.)
Albayalde vehemently denied Lacadin’s allegation, saying “it seems that everybody is ganging up on me, I really don’t know.”
The PNP chief said if he really had a hand in the allegedly anomalous operation, “why was I not charged?”
“It’s as if I’m being crucified already,” he added.
But former PNP - Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, who blew the whistle on Albayalde, backed Lacadin’s claim.
“Someone here is lying. I'm pretty sure it is not Gen. Lacadin, it’s not me, not the other officers, but someone else. Siya po (It's him)," Magalong said, pointing to Albayalde who was seated near him.
Albayalde, as Pampanga police chief, was relieved from duty in 2014 after a group of Pampanga cops, led by then Supt. Rodney Baloyo, allegedly made off with some 160 kilograms of shabu worth around P648 million at the time following a 2013 anti-drug operation on alleged Chinese drug lord Johnson Lee.
Baloyo’s team also allegedly set Lee free and presented another Chinese, identified in reports as Ding Wengkun, in exchange for P50 million.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino has testified that Albayalde, who was then Metro Manila’s top cop, called him in 2016 to seek updates on the case of the Pampanga cops.
Aquino also revealed that Albayalde asked him not to implement the dismissal order against Baloyo and his men.
Maintaining innocence in the allegations against him and defending his call to Aquino, Albayalde has rejected calls for his resignation ahead of his Nov. 8 retirement.