MANILA - Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde covered for the Pampanga "ninja cops" or policemen who recycle seized illegal drugs, a senator said Thursday.
Albayalde, as Pampanga police chief, was relieved from duty in 2014 after a group of Pampanga police officers allegedly made off with some P648 million worth of shabu.
Sen. Franklin Drilon, however, admitted there was no evidence linking Albayalde to the reselling of illicit drugs.
"In fairness to Gen. Albayalde walang ebidensya na siya ay nakinabang sa recycling ngunit sa akin naman, ako’y kumbinsido na talagang sinubukan i-cover up at kinover up itong insidenteng ito to protect those who were involved," he told radio DZMM.
(In fairness to Gen. Albayalde, there's no evidence that he benefited from the recycling of drugs. But for me, I'm convinced he attempted to cover up and covered up this incident to protect those who were involved.)
"Kung ipagdudugtong-dugtong mo 'yung chain of events, sinikap at siguro nagtagumpay na ibaon itong kasong ito."
(If you link this chain of events, they tried hard, and possibly even succeeded, in burying this case.)
Former PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief Benjamin Magalong and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino accused Albayalde of intervening in the case of the Pampanga officers.
During Wednesday’s hearing, former Central Luzon police chief Rudy Lacadin said Albayalde not only tried to influence the outcome of the investigation but even admitted partaking in the drug loot.
Albayalde has denied urging Aquino, who was then Central Luzon police chief, not to enforce any decision on the policemen’s motion for reconsideration on their dismissal from service.
He, however, admitted contacting Aquino on behalf of his men, which he said he made as "a commander."
The Department of Justice has reopened the investigation against the "ninja cops," while the Department of the Interior and Local Government has launched its own probe on Albayalde.
Drilon said the Pampanga policemen would likely be convicted based on "strong evidence."
"Malakas ang ebidensiya sa nakikita natin. Kung wala silang masabi na sufficient defense ay makoconvict sila on the basis of what we heard," he said. "Kung alibi lang ang excuse... alibi is the weakest defense."
(We can see there's strong evidence. If they can't come up with a sufficient defense, they will be convicted on the basis of what we heard. If alibi is their only excuse...it's the weakest defense.)