Albayalde mulls legal action vs accusers

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 11 2019 06:41 PM

Albayalde said veteran lawyer Estelito Mendoza, a fellow Cabalen, offered him legal aid for a possible case against his accusers. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—Philippine National Police chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde on Friday said he is studying possible legal actions against former police officials who accused him of involvement in an allegedly questionable drug raid in 2013.

Albayalde said veteran lawyer Estelito Mendoza, a fellow Cabalen, offered him legal aid for a possible case against his accusers.

“He was so much willing to give legal advice . . . I gave him the case folder. We talked and he has given instructions,” Albayalde told reporters.

“These people have to be made responsible for their actions. They should know better. Somebody here is lying, but it’s definitely not me.”

With just more than a month before his retirement, Albayalde is in hot water for allegedly intervening in the case of 13 Pampanga police officers ordered dismissed for allegedly pilfering millions worth of meth seized during a 2013 raid in Mexico town.

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. 

The two retired police officials said Albayalde, then chief of Pampanga police, made calls to ensure they would be spared from being axed.

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 acknowledged partaking in the drug loot.

Albayalde, as Pampanga police chief, was relieved from duty in 2014 after a group of Pampanga police officers, 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 raid on alleged drug lord, Chinese Johnson Lee.

Baloyo’s team also allegedly set Lee free and presented another Chinese suspect, identified in reports as Ding Wengkun, in exchange for P50 million.

Maintaining innocence in the allegations against him, Albayalde has rejected calls for his resignation.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, one of the senators actively attending the Senate inquiry on the alleged anomalies within the police force, said it is within Albayalde’s rights to defend himself if he believes he has a strong case.

“It may be a double-edged sword though since those retired generals will not take it sitting down and will defend themselves vigorously,” Lacson said in a statement.

“Surely, he is presumed innocent regardless of what we witnessed in the Senate public hearings.”