THE Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) yesterday dismissed as weak the arguments raised by former police chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde to bolster his plea to dismiss the complaint slapped against him in relation to the November 2013 sham drug raid carried out by 13 Pampanga “ninja cops.”
In its reply to Albayalde’s motion urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) to set aside the complaint, PNP-CIDG’s Lt. Col. Julius Sagandoy maintained there is sufficient evidence to charge the former PNP chief and the 13 police officers led by then team leader Maj. Rodney Baloyo.
Sagandoy said the CIDG has proof to prove its finding that Albayalde should be held liable under the principle of command responsibility for the irregular anti-narcotics operation that targeted suspected drug lord Johnson Lee, who was supposedly able to “escape” from the police in exchange for P50 million. The Pampanga cops likewise faked its spot report and declared only 36 kilos of the 200 kilos of shabu seized from the raid.
The criminal complaints against Albayalde include violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, bribery, falsification of public documents, perjury and dereliction of duty.
“All told, the respective counter-affidavits of the respondents did not in any way weaken the foundations of the complaint. Thus, respondents must be held liable for their crimes/offenses,” the PNP-CIDG said.
“Wherefore, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Department that after due hearing and consideration, probable cause be found against respondents to the crimes/offenses charged as enumerated in the amended complaint-affidavit dated October 21, 2019,” it also said.
In dismissing Albayalde’s arguments, the PNP-CIDG stood firm on its position that the former Pampanga police director knew that the Baloyo team has discovered and was monitoring Lee’s drug pushing activities in Mexico, Pampanga.
It added Albayalde was also aware of the team’s plan to conduct a buy-bust operation on Lee’s operations because he was allegedly informed by Baloyo of their plan to purchase shabu worth P100, 000 using a poseur-buyer and that it will be carried out on November 29, 2013.
“On November 29, 2013 at about 3p.m., respondent PGeneral Albayalde was aware of the ongoing raid conducted by respondent Baloyo and his team. Respondent Albayalde was fully informed about every detail that was happening during the raid, including, but not limited to the marked money, pre-arranged signal, suspect’s arrest and confiscation of suspected shabu placed in one open luggage and one medium-sized box amounting to P300,000 and the marked money amounting to P100, 000,” the PNP-CIDG said.
It said that the former PNP chief was also aware that the recovered shabu with actual weight of 36. 681 kilos and the cash money were turned over to the PNP Regional Office 3 on November 30, 2013 and that he was also informed of the filing of a case against the arrested suspects before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor on December 1.
“Thus, from Day 1 of the questionable raid conducted by respondent Baloyo and his team, and prior to his administrative relief on March 26 2014, respondent Albayalde had the full opportunity to seek due diligence to investigate the said raid but he opted to join his co-respondents in their theory of legitimate operation, which was later discovered to be a sham by Branch 43 of the Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga,” the PNP-CIDG also said.
“Further, respondent Albayalde’s denial in his counter-affidavit as his main defense should be received with furrowed brows,” it added.
The regional trial court dismissed the cases filed by the police in connection with the raid against Ding Wenkun alias Lim Yantao Ong and Roel Cabag for failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
The court said the arresting officers failed to follow the chain of custody and to immediately mark the seized illegal drugs from the accused.
Likewise, it said there were no representatives from the media, the DOJ and the barangay during the initial inventory and the marking of the confiscated shabu at the area of operation and even during the marking and inventory at their office as mandated by the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Republic Act 9165 ).
In his counter-affidavit, Albayalde said the amended complaint against him should be dismissed outright and he should not be required to file his answer since the complaints are “insufficient in form and is not accompanied by adequate evidence to establish probable cause.”
Albayalde also said the complaint failed to inform him of the acts he allegedly committed constituting the offense charged in ordinary and concise language.
“Moreover, the general and vague averments and allegations in the amended complaint-affidavit violate my constitutionally guaranteed right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusations against me,” he added.
Albayalde stressed that Supreme Court jurisprudences have highlighted the importance that a complaint must contain specific allegations of every fact and circumstances necessary to constitute the crime charged.
He alleged the PNP-CIDG complaint just adopted the allegations in the original complaints against the 13 Pampanga cops that were already dismissed for lack of evidence.
In the same reply, the PNP-CIDG also dismissed the arguments raised by Baloyo and the members of his team- Capt.Joven Bognot De Guzman Jr., Master Sgts. Jules Lacap Maniago, Donald Castro Roque, Ronald Bayas Santos, Rommel Munoz Vital, Alcindor Mangiduyos Tinio and Eligio Dayos Valeroso, Staff Sgts. Dindo Singian Dizon, Gilbert Angeles Devera, Encarnacion Guerrero Jr. and Dante Dizon and Cpl. Anthony Loleng Lacsamana.
The PNP-CIDG said the respondents merely raised alibis and denials.
“Thus, in the amended complaint, the respondents proffered mere general denial and alibi as defenses, which jurisprudence has long considered weak and unreliable,” it said.
Likewise, the PNP-CIDG said there was no truth to the claim of Albayalde and his co-respondents that they were not given due process.
“All the parties in the present case were afforded by the Honorable Department the full opportunity to submit their respective evidence and defenses. Thus, respondents had the opportunity to be heard in this fair proceeding,” it also said.
As to their arguments that the DOJ Secretary has no authority to order the reopening of the case, the PNP-CIDG said their reasoning is “misplaced” since they still have a right to a speedy disposition of the cases and their liberty was not deprived while the reinvestigation was being conducted.
The PNP-CIDG also said the respondents conspired in the commission of the crimes for which they now stand accused.
“The allegations of conspiracy in the instant complaint is based on facts and evidence.
Respondents’ overt acts and common design to commit a felony were established,” it stressed.