By Martin Sadongdong
Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, General Oscar Albayalde officially retired from service on Friday upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 without the traditional retirement honors.
Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, said Albayalde no longer availed of the customary honors given to a retiring police officer in recognition of his\her contributions to the organization since it was only “optional.”
“Wala na po tayong retirement honors (We will no longer hold a retirement honors),” Banac said.
“Dahil optional lamang ay hindi na po nag-avail si General Albayalde ng retirement honors (Since it was only optional, General Albayalde no longer availed of retirement honors),” he added.
Banac said that the retirement honors was usually being held along with the turnover of office ceremony for the new PNP Chief.
Albayalde vacated his post on October 14 after he became the center of a Senate investigation on ninja cops where he was linked to the anomalous anti-illegal drug raid in Pampanga in 2013. He then turned over his post to Lieutenant General Archie Gamboa, who currently acts as the PNP officer in charge and deputy chief for administration, in a hurried ceremony.
The said raid involved 13 of his subordinates who allegedly recycled some 160 kilograms of seized crystal meth.
Since then, Albayalde has refused to appear in public or grant media interviews, and only made an appearance before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on November 5 to formally request that the charges filed against him be dismissed.
Despite not having retirement honors, Albayalde was accorded a testimonial parade by the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) — his alma mater — in Baguio City last September 28. He is a member of the PMA Sinagtala Class of 1986.
The PNP earlier said that Albayalde will still enjoy the full benefits of a retired four-star general including his monthly pension, among others.
Meanwhile, President Duterte has yet to pick a new PNP Chief, who will inherit a big responsibility what with the setback suffered by the PNP in the government’s drug war with the controversy involving Albayalde.
Three police generals are leading the race namely Gamboa, Lieutenant General Camilo Pancratius Cascolan, the deputy chief for operations and also a member of PMA Class of 1986; and Police Major General Guillermo Eleazar, the chief directorial staff.
However, reports said that Duterte was thinking of picking the next PNP Chief from outside this list.
Duterte was quoted as saying in a recent media interview that he wanted an “honest PNP Chief even if he is not the smartest officer there is.”
In essence, all police generals — from those with a rank of Brigadier General (one-star general) to Lieutenant General (three-star general) — are qualified to be the next PNP Chief.