By Chito Chavez and Aaron Recuenco
Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on denied that pressure was exerted on former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde to give up his post.
Even if Albayalde is being linked to the anomalous 2013 Pampanga drug raid by former police generals, Año confirmed that President Duterte still has complete trust and confidence in him.
He stressed that Albayalde was never forced to give up his top PNP post as the President was satisfied with his performance.
Año confirmed that Albayalde, who was due for retirement on November 8 already expressed his desire to step down as early as Wednesday last week but advised the embattled PNP chief to give it much thought.
But last Saturday, Año said Albayalde submitted a letter signifying his intention to relinquish his post after a serious talk to spare the police organization from the ongoing probe involving ninja cops.
A question of credibility
The Senate probe appears to have affected the credibility of Albayalde among the troops.
Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa, Officer-In-Charge of the PNP said they could not blame some quarters since they are entitled to their opinion based on the conduct of the senate investigation on the issue of drug recycling.
“I would be honest, yes probably (some policemen doubted Albayalde’s credibility). Policemen are also human beings but then I said your opinion as an individual should be distinct and separate from the organization,” said Gamboa in an interview over ANC.
Albayalde quit his post as PNP Chief on Monday and went on Non-Duty Status amid allegations that he benefitted from the anomalous Pampanga drug raid when he was still the provincial director.
READ MORE: Albayalde steps down as PNP chief
A retired police general said Albayalde intervened in the dismissal of the 13 cops involved in the operation while another retired general said he admitted to getting a little from the drug raid.
The intense pressure from both the retired and active policemen, including some alumni of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), reportedly forced Albayalde to consider quitting his post.
Gamboa also admitted that the controversy that hounded Albayalde has affected the PNP.
“I admit it’s a very big challenge because we have to be honest that this really affected the PNP. First, you have to convince our personnel, the PNP as an organization. Second, the public and tell them look the PNP is still a very good police force and we can do our mandate,” said Gamboa.
“But we will prioritize to convince our personnel: Let’s not be haunted by this controversy and move on,” he added.
“This controversy that hounded us might be a temporary setback but I assure the public we can regain our stance and pursue our campaign,” said Gamboa.