By Hannah Torregoza
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde is taking more heat after a retired general recalled that he also inquired about the internal investigation being conducted by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) on the drug buy-bust conducted by the 13 police officials in Mexico, Pampanga in 2013.
Appearing at the continuation of the Senate’s hearing into the so-called ‘ninja cops,’ retired general Rudy Lacadin, told senators that he received a call from Albayalde at the time the CIDG’s probe was conducting a discreet probe into the controversy.
“Gen. Albayalde is a friend of mine. One time, we were partners in business, and he actually replaced me as the executive officer of the DPL (directorate for plans) in Camp Crame when I was reassigned as regional director for Region 3,” Lacadin recalled.
Pressed by Sen. Richard Gordon, Lacadin said he and Albayalde ventured in water business.
“He called me up actually…I cannot recall the conversation but as far as I remember he said, ‘sir iniimbestigahan nyo daw kami? And I said yes, Oca, I did not inform you na nagco-conduct ako ng investigation kasi this is just a validation,” Lacadin said.
According to Lacadin, he recalled telling Albayalde “but if you have nothing to hide, wala naman kayong dapat katakutan (you have nothing to be afraid of).”
“Sabi niya, and I don’t know if he was joking, but sabi niya, ‘actually sir, konti lang naman ang napunta sa akin diyan’,” Lacadin narrated.
Lacadin said he did not seek any elaboration from Albayalde, because he did not want to be influenced with their ongoing validation process.
“But if we can go back to the records of telephone calls, that was the time he called me up. I did not make the call,” Lacadin recalled.
To this, Albayalde responded to the committee saying he cannot understand “why everyone is ganging up on him.”
“I really do not know sir kung ano yung conspiracy dito. But it seems that everyone is ganging up on me. I really do not know,” Albayalde said.
“It’s very unlikely na Gen. Lacadin, sasabihan ko siya (nang ganun). We never had a chance of being under one office. Hindi ko po alam kung ano dahilan at against siya sa akin—si Gen, Lacadin, pero kung sabihin mong sinabi ko yun, ang tanong ko ulit, why was I not charged?” he pointed out.
“After all these investigations—tatlo na po ang nag-imbestiga your honor, why was I not charged?” he stressed.
At this point, former CIDG chief and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong recalled that when they were trying to conduct the probe some of their investigators received feelers from the other members of Baloyo’s group who wanted to speak out.
But when these police officers learned that the case filed by the group of Gen. Raul Petrasanta was weak, they backtracked.
“I knew of one particular Dizon; he was one of those who want to talk. We tried our best to convince them, to testify, to use their statement into written testimonies. Pero wala ho eh di namin ma convince natakot na po sila,” Magalong said.
“Kaya I keep on saying, admittedly, we have no hard evidence against Gen. Albayalde,” the Baguio City Mayor said.
At this, Albayalde protested saying he cannot understand why these issues are cropping up six years after it happened.
But Lacadin interjected that he has nothing against the Chief PNP and was mainly just stating the facts of what happened at the time they were investigating the case.
“Magkaibigan ho kami, and I know that after this, di na katulad ng dati ang aming samahan,” Lacadin said.
“But why after six years you will now remember everything? Why did it not come out during the conduct of the investigations?” Albayalde retorted.
“In all honesty, Mr. Chairman, ako po ay na float for so many years, I suffered a lot…” he added.
Magalong, however, defended Lacadin from his disclosure, saying Alabayalde had repeatedly insisted his innocence on the issue, even when the PNP selection board was deliberating on his promotion.
“Wala ho siyang ginawa nun kung hindi i-deny lang na meron siyang alam tungkol dun sa nangyari. Puro denial lang po talaga lahat,” Magalong pointed out.
Magalong noted that in the same manner Albayalde was confronted by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Gen. Aaron Aquino’s testimony that he did call and intervened on the case of Baloyo and the 12 other cops and urged him not to implement the dismissal order, the PNP Chief is also denying Lacadin’s narrative.
“So again, he lied! Eto na naman po, na nagsalita dito si Gen. Lacadin, na freely, confidently, ito pag uusap nila, again he is denying it.
“Again, someone here is lying. And I am pretty sure it’s not Gen. Lacadin, it’s not me, it’s not the other officers, or someone else. Siya po, ‘yan!” Magalong firmly said, while pointing one finger in the direction of Albayalde.