By Aaron Recuenco
Director Oscar Albayalde will take the helm of the 195,000-strong Philippine National Police (PNP) Thursday amid legal issues and controversies brought by intensified illegal drugs campaign and policemen being involved in various illegal activities.
Albayalde will replace his mistah, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, in a rare occasion in the PNP wherein both the outgoing and incoming national police chief come from the same class, the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986.
In a show of support in the turnover ceremony that would be presided by President Duterte at Camp Crame in Quezon City Wednesday afternoon, several members of the PMA Class 1986 are expected to join dela Rosa in trooping the line which is part of the turnover ceremony.
“I feel pressured. I feel pressure from the expectations of our countrymen, pressure to deliver on the promise of the President, the pressure from work, and pressure from my classmates,” said Albayalde.
It was a tough journey for Albayalde to reach the top. From virtually an unknown police official who was tapped by dela Rosa to become Metro Manila police chief because the latter admire his intelligence during their cadet days, even Albayalde said he was surprised that he was appointed as the 22nd PNP chief.
A native of San Fernando in Pampanga, police officials said the appointment of Albayalde was really unexpected since majority of the police officials are expecting that the next PNP chief is either from Davao or was assigned in Davao.
In fact, several top contenders have been assigned in Davao City such as Deputy Director General Ramon Apolinario, the current number two man being the Deputy Chief for Administration; and Director Rene Aspera, head of the Directorate for Personnel and Records Management.
It was Apolinario who was first announced as the next PNP chief—only to be clarified later that he is not and followed by the extension of dela Rosa’s tour of duty as PNP chief for three months.
“I will face it as time comes,” said Albayalde when asked of his readiness to face all the challenges when he assumes the top police post.
Aside from the latest controversy about missing multi-million peso allowance of police commandos, Albayalde will deal with the issue of allegations of rampant violations of human rights under war on drugs and dela Rosa’s unfinished business on scalawag policemen.
BATTLE OF PERCEPTION
Various human rights groups have been raising a howl over the intensified campaign against illegal drugs due to the thousands of deaths of suspected drug pushers and users.
But for Albayalde, allegations of human rights violations under war on drugs is just a battle of perception.
“As I have said, this is just a battle of perception. Siguro sino ba nagsasabi nito kungdi mangilan-ngilan na sector lang. Why don’t they get kung ano talaga ang nararamdaman ng ating mga kababayan ng ating community,” said Albayalde in an intervire over GMA News To Go.
He said the fact remains that the country made a significant improvement on peace and order. And this, he said, should be the one the critics should focus on.
The PNP has been reporting about the significant decrease in crime rate, as it argued that most of the street crimes are perpetrated by those involved in illegal drugs.
“It should be the improvement in peace and order that critics should look into, they should not take advantage every time there are reports of deaths,” said Albayalde.
“Even the CHR said that nothing has been proven yet on allegations of human rights violation either by the PNP or the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he added.
In past interviews, Albayalde said he will continue the gains of the government in the intensified operations against illegal drugs.
The National Capital Region Police Office, which Albayalde led, is among the top performer in anti-illegal drugs campaign, including the number of deaths.
It was recalled that President Duterte himself said that it was Albayalde’s being a strict and a disciplinarian which encouraged him to tap the latter as dela Rosa’s replacement.
Based on police records, Albayalde is among the top regional directors who had the most number of policemen investigated, relieved and dismissed due to involvement in various illegal activities.
It was recalled that he was the one who sacked the more than 1,000 members of the Caloocan City police force due to the killings of Kian delos Santos and Carl Angelo Arnaiz, and other allegations of abuses.
He was also the one who sent more than 400 policemen to Basilan for involvement in various illegal activities.
Albayalde is seen to be continue the unfinished business of dela Rosa to clean the PNP of scalawag policemen.