By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Richard Gordon described as “inappropriate” the move of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde to ask Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director-general Aaron Aquino not to implement the dismissal order against his former men involved in an anomalous anti-drug operation in 2013.
Albayalde was on hot seat during the Senate justice and blue ribbon committees’ hearing on the alleged drug recycling by so-called “ninja cops” Wednesday as he was accused of meddling with the removal of the 13 cops who carried out the November 2013 drug bust in Mexico, Pampanga which was flagged for irregularities.
Gordon refreshed Aquino’s earlier revelation that Albayalde personally called him in 2016 and requested not to implement the dismissal order issued against the Pampanga cops in 2014.
At the time, Aquino was Central Luzon regional police chief while Albayalade was Metro Manila chief.
Aquino quoted Albayalde as telling him, “Mga tao ko ‘yan (Those were my men).”
Explaining anew his side, the embattled PNP chief said that he only meant that the 13 cops were under his helm as a commander of Pampanga police.
He also reiterated that he only asked for the status of the case against his former men and that he cannot influence Aquino, who is his senior, into reconsidering the dismissal order.
“But from the standpoint of appropriateness, na pag nilapitan mo, ang lakas ng loob mo, underclassman ka lalapitan mo ‘yong upperclassman mo, may hawak siyang order, [that was] inappropriate, (that you had courage to seek him, when you are an underclass man and he is your upperclassman, and he holds an order, that was inappropriate),” Gordon, on the other hand, told Albayalde.
Albayalde, scrambling for words, maintained that he only did that after the cops’ relatives asked him about the case.
“Probably it’s inappropriate, but I’m just — of course the family would ask –” which Gordon immediately objected, “Well, let them do that! Why you?”
“If it’s inappropriate — I really can’t tell if it’s really inappropriate in the eyes of everybody — but as a commander, I would just, at least, kahit man lang masabi mo na nirefer ko na ‘yan sa bagong RD (should be able to tell them that I referred the case to the new regional director),” Albayalde reasoned out.
Albayalde added that it was also a “military” move.
At the Senate hearing, Albayalde repeatedly insisted that he had nothing to do with the anomalous operation by his former subordinates.
He also disowned Major Rodney Baloyo, who, he said, was already in Pampanga when he assumed as their chief in 2013.
“When I was assigned in Pampanga, wala po akong bitbit (I did not bring my own people with me),” he told the panel.
Still, he maintained that he had to rely on the spot report of Baloyo’s team, citing again presumption of regularity.