President Rodrigo Duterte urged Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde to take a terminal leave after he was accused of protecting "ninja cops" or cops who allegedly sold seized narcotics, Sen. Bong Go said Monday.
Go said the President told Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano last Saturday that Albayalde should take a terminal leave while the investigation on the ninja cops controversy is ongoing.
Albayalde stepped down as PNP chief on Monday, just weeks before his official retirement on Nov. 8. Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier said the PNP chief stepped down willingly and was not forced to resign.
In an interview, Go said Duterte's decision does not mean he lost trust in the Philippines' top cop. Instead, he said the President was concerned about the issue affecting Albayalde's performance of his duties.
He added the President is still waiting for the official results of the investigation of the Senate and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Two former police officials earlier implicated Albayalde in a 2013 raid in which officers in a province near Manila allegedly seized and then sold parts of a large methamphetamine haul.
One former official alleged Albayalde protected the officers from discipline, while the other claimed he received money from the drug sale. Albayalde, then the province commander, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
Former PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said Albayalde had "no choice" but to step down as fellow police officers were already "avoiding" him amid allegations he protected his men accused of seizing illegal narcotics.
“He has no choice. PNP officers and rank and file inside [Camp] Crame are avoiding and evading him. How can you lead when your subordinates do not trust you? In essence, he lost the moral high ground to lead,” Magalong, who blew the whistle on Albayalde, said in a statement. With Agence France-Presse