DOJ set to file graft case vs Albayalde

Published January 17, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Jeffrey Damicog

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to file before the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) a graft case against retired Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde in connection with his alleged involvement with the “ninja cops” who participated in the irregular 2013 drug operation in Pampanga.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Undersecretary Markk Perete (Photo courtesy of / MANILA BULLETIN)
Department of Justice (DOJ) Undersecretary Markk Perete (Photo courtesy of / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The indorsement has already been approved by the PG (Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento),” said DOJ spokesman and Undersecretary Mark Perete on Friday, January 17.

Perete said it will be up to the OMB whether to conduct its own preliminary investigation (PI) on the case or proceed with the filing of charges before the Sandiganbayan.

“As a practice, the OMB approves indorsements made by the DoJ. But it may decide to conduct its own PI,” the spokesman said.

Just last Thursday, January 16, Perete announced that the DOJ panel of prosecutors chaired by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Alexander Suarez has found probable cause to indict Albayalde for violating Section 3(a) and Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

“The Panel anchored its finding on Albayalde’s non-implementation of an Order which sought to penalize the police officers involved in the questioned drug operations,” the spokesman had stated.

The case concerns the 2013 illegal drugs operations in Mexico, Pampanga where a team led then by Police Maj. Rodney Baloyo IV was supposed to have arrested suspected foreign drug trader Johnson Lee, seized around 200 kilograms of methamphethamine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu, P55 million in cash; and a Toyota Fortuner.

“The Panel found that Baloyo, et al, misappropriated drugs when they declared that only 36.60 kg of shabu was seized during their operations, while the subsequent police investigation indicated that about 200 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride was actually recovered. The group likewise declared that the cash they obtained from the operation to be only P300,000 while contrary evidence indicated that said amoung reached P10 million,” Perete had said.

“Some of the respondents were likewise found to have failed to declare and account for a Toyota Fortuner vehicle which was also seized during the operation,” he added.

Perete also pointed out that the panel said the respondents were also found to have “illegally arrested one Ding Wenkun instead of Johnson Lee from whom they seized the drugs” and “implicated or imputed upon Wenkun the crime of illegal sale and possession of dangerous drugs despite their knowledge that it was Lee who should be charged therefor.”

Because of the findings, the panel also found probable cause to indict Baloyo and 11 other policemen for:

1. Misappropriation, misapplication or failure to account for the confiscated, seized and/or surrendered dangerous drugs, defined and penalized under Section 27, Article II, of R.A. No. 9165;

2. Planting of evidence, defined and penalized under Sec. 29, Article II, likewise of R.A. No. 9165;

3. Delay and bungling in the prosecution of drugs cases, defined and penalized under Sec. 92, Article XI of R.A. No. 9165;

4. Qualified bribery under the Revised Penal Code; and

5. Causing any undue injury to any party, including the government, defined and penalized under Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019.

The 11 policemen are P/Insp. Joven Bagnot De Guzman, Jr.; SPO1 (Senior Police Officer) Jules Lacap Maniago; SPOI Donald Castro Roque; SPO1 Ronald Bayas Santos; SPO1 Rommel Muñoz Vital; SPO1 Alcindor Mangiduyos Tinio; PO3 (Police Officer) Dindo Singian Dizon; PO3 Gilbert Angeles De Vera; PO3 Romeo Encarnacio Guerrero, Jr.; SPO1 Eligio Dayos Valeroso; and SPO1 Dante Mercado Dizon.

Aside from these, the panel also recommended the filing charges against Guerrero and Santos for violating regulations issued by the Dangerous Drugs Board regarding the chain of custody of evidence against PO3 Guerrero and SPO1 Santos; falsification by a public officer against Baloyo who made untruthful statements in his spot report and progress report regarding the operation; and false testimony and perjury in solemn affirmation against Santos and Guerrerro who made untruthful statements in their affidavit of arrest against Wenkun.