By Hannah Torregoza
Senators on Wednesday questioned Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde why he recommended promotion and a distinguished conduct award for himself and the 13 police officers who were part of the questionable drug buy-bust in Mexico, Pampanga in 2013.
Sen. Richard Gordon, at the resumption of the Senate’s hearing into the “ninja cops” controversy, showed a copy of Albayalde’s endorsement for the 13 policemen and himself for the operation in recognition of their outstanding performance of duty and exercise of professionalism in the 2013 drug buy-bust.
A smiling Albayalde affirmed his action as then Pampanga provincial police director but said it was up to the regional director whether to agree or not.
“You are giving yourself an award?” Gordon asked Albayalde, to which the PNP chief replied: “Yes sir, it had my signature, but it will be up to the regional director to decide.
At this Gordon, said promotions and awards should not be given away like candies or souvenirs when it should be given to deserving officers.
“Huwag naman ganyan. Dapat well-deserved ang medalya,” Gordon interjected.
Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, a former PNP chief, also said he is not surprised about Albayalde’s move to secure awards for himself and his men.
“Pag accomplishment kasama. Kapag nagkasabitan, kanya-kanyang alisan,” Lacson said.
Earlier during the hearing, Albayalde denied that Major Rodney Baloyo IV and the other 12 police officers involved in the controversial November 2013 buy-bust operation were his “bata” or “loyal men.”
According to Albayalde, Baloyo and the other cops were already police officers in Pampanga when he was assigned as the provincial police director in May 1, 2013.
“Bata is a general term used by people. Kapag sinabing bata, yan ay bitbit ko from the very beginning,” Albayalde said.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Chief Aaron Aquino earlier told senators that Albayalde inquired about the status of the dismissal case of Baloyo and the other cops involved in the Pampanga drug buy-bust and asked him not to implement the dismissal order saying “mga bata ko yan.”
Aquino decided not to act on the case and instead deployed the 13 cops to Mindanao.