Albayalde asks DOJ: Dismiss ‘ninja cops’ raps

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    RESIGNED police chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde yesterday asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to dismiss the complaints filed against him by the PNP-CIDG for his supposed complicity with a sham drug raid conducted by 13 Pampanga “ninja cops” in 2013.

    Albayalde’s move seemed to have been bolstered by the decision of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) not to file administrative charges against him in relation to the 2013 incident.

    Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Tuesday said that while the DILG found Albayalde liable for command responsibility for his men’s actions, no administrative case will be pursued against him.

    “Ang liability ni Albayalde based sa finding ng (DILG) ay command responsibility kaya siya ay ni-relieve nung 2014 because of his command responsibility (The DILG found Albayalde liable for command responsibility, which was why he was relieved in 2014),” Año said in a phone interview.

    “So ngayong chief PNP siya, the most na magagawa dun sa command responsibility ay i-relieve siya as chief PNP. Pero nag-relinquish na siya ng position. Tapos na ‘yun, moot and academic na (Was chief PNP, the most that can be imposed on him for command responsibility is to relieve him. But he has relinquished his post already. So that is now over, it is now moot and academic),” Año added.

    Albayalde resigned as PNP chief on October 14 amid allegations that he was involved in the ninja cops operations and Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa was named officer-in-charge. Albayalde is due to reach the retirement age of 56 this Friday, November 8.

    Año said the DILG report was submitted to President Duterte on October 25. The President has approved the recommendations contained in the report.

    Apparently aware of the DILG recommendation, Albayalde told DOJ prosecutors the amended complaint against him should be dismissed outright since the complaint is “insufficient in form and is not accompanied by adequate evidence to establish probable cause.”

    In his counter-affidavit submitted to the panel headed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Alexander Suarez, Albayalde claimed the complaint failed to inform him in ordinary and concise language of the acts he allegedly committed.

    “The amended complaint affidavit in the instant case fails to do this.

    On its face, it does not sufficiently and adequately state the acts I allegedly committed constituting the offenses charged, and, as a consequence, merits outright dismissal,” he said.

    “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 said Supreme Court jurisprudences have highlighted the importance that a complaint must contain specific allegations that constitute the crime charged.

    “In fact, the constitutional right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him cannot be waived, to wit. But a reading of the amended complaint-affidavit will readily show that instead of stating ultimate facts which constitute the offense charged, the same contains nothing more than conclusions of law that are based on mere suspicion, speculation, conjectures and suppositions” he said.

    He said the PNP-CIDG complaint just adopted the allegations in the original complaints against the 13 Pampanga cops that had been dismissed for lack of evidence.

    Also, Albayalde said he was never charged in the original case nor his name even mentioned in the said complaint.

    “Clearly, adopting the previously dismissed complaint-affidavit in the present amended complaint-affidavit and merely appending my name thereto does not afford me the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against me, or the opportunity to intelligently respond to the charges levied against me,” he said.

    He said the PNP-CIDG relied solely on the allegations raised against him before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee by individuals who, he added, “are obviously on a mission to destroy my good name and reputation to advance their own selfish agenda.”

    “They should not be given credence and must be dismissed for lack of merit,” he said, adding: “Indeed the records of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings are replete with testimony that in judicial proceedings like the present preliminary investigation will properly be stricken out as hearsay, coerced statements, opinion, conjecture, surmises, answers to leading questions and self-serving statements.”

    Albayalde also said the testimonies of PDEA chief Aaron Aquino and retired police general Rudy Lacadin during the Senate inquiry were bereft of any independent or corroborating evidence to support their claim.

    “I vehemently deny as being untruthful and malicious the totally baseless and incredible allegations of General Aquino. There is likewise no truth to former General Lacadin’s allegations that I somehow insinuated that I benefitted in any manner or form from the P2013 Pampanga operation,” he said.

    He also said there was no truth to Aquino’s and Lacadin’s claims that he called them to try to influence them or interfere in any manner in the administrative cases against the 13 ninja cops.

    He said the two were former upperclassmen at the Philippine Military Academy and as such, it is against human experience to ask upperclassmen for a favor, much less something so brazenly illegal.

    “The fact that they only came up with these fabrications six years after the fact militates strongly against their truthfulness. Why would these honorable individuals wait six long years to come up with this story, when they were exactly in a position to punish or at least charge me with an offense along with Supt. (Rodney) Baloyo and his team at the precise time I supposedly tried to influence them? He added.

    Lastly, Albayalde also questioned the jurisdiction of the DOJ to reopen the case for investigation.

    Albayalde arrived at the DOJ wearing a black jacket and white short and maong pants. He declined to be interviewed by the media before and after the hearing.

    13 NINJA COPS CHARGED

    Año said administrative charges have been filed against the 13 ninja cops involved in the sham Pampanga raid before the National Police Commission.

    “Seven cases were filed against the 13 ninja cops,” Año said.

    He said charges were filed against Baloyo, Sr. Insp. Joven de Guzman Jr., SPO1 Jules Maniago, SPO1 Ronald Santos, SPO1 Donald Roque, SPO1 Rommel Vital, SPO1 Alcinador Tinio, PO3 Dindo Dizon, PO3 Gilbert De Vera, PO3 Romeo Guerrero, PO2 Anthony Loleng Lacsamana, SPO1 Eligio Valeroso, and SPO1 Dante Dizon.

    He said the charges were pursued based on the investigation conducted by the DILG-NAPOLCOM. “That is the findings of the DILG-NAPOLCOM review and reinvestigation board and the President approved it,” he said.

    Año said the administrative charges pursued against the 13 ninja cops include serious irregularity in the performance of duty, dishonesty and grave misconduct.

    Told that some of the 13 policemen have already been dismissed, Año said they will still pursue the administrative charges because their dismissals are still subject to appeal.

    No charges will be filed against Albayalde, the Pampanga police chief at the time the sham drugs raid was conducted by the 13 ninja cops on the house of suspected Chinese high-profile drug lord Johnson Lee in Mexico, Pampanga.

    On allegations that Albayalde intervened for his men, Año said those are merely “contentions and allegations.”

    “Kung may magsasalita dun sa 13, may makuha tayong ibang ebidensya, okay ‘yan, pero wala, so it remains an allegation and we cannot use that as basis to file charges and dismiss Albayalde (If one of the 13 will testify against Albayalde, we can use that as evidence, but since none of them did, the those remain allegations and we cannot use that as basis to file charges and dismiss Albayalde),” Año said.

    He said their recommendation is not contrary to the recommendation of the Senate which looked into the case.

    “Yung kanila, I remember, criminal ‘yung kanilang tinumbok noon, kaya nga ‘yun ang kanilang submission sa DOJ saka sa Ombudsman. Kami naman nag-de-determine sa admin case. So malinaw naman ‘yun. Walang conflict dun (The Senate focused on the criminal aspect, that is their submission to the DOJ and the Ombudsman. The DILG determined the admin case. That is clear, there is no conflict there,” he added.

    SENATORS SIGN SENATE PANEL REPORT

    Gordon, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon and justice committees, said a total of 19 senators have signed the report on the ninja cops aspect of his panels’ investigation.

    “So, that’s very, very solid. Ang nag-imbestiga niyan ay sina Drilon, Sotto, ako, Senator Lacson (So, that’s very, very solid. It was investigated by [Senate minority leader Franklin] Drilon, [Senate President Vicente] Sotto, me, and Sen. [Panfilo] Lacson,” Gordon told GMA News TV’s Balitanghali.

    Gordon made the announcement a day after Año said that the DILG will not file administrative charges against Albayalde and will leave his fate to the DOJ and the Ombudsman.

    In an interview last month, President Duterte said he will let the Ombudsman file criminal charges against Albayalde if evidence so warrants, since filing an administrative case against the former PNP chief will be useless as he is scheduled to mandatorily retire on Nov. 8 and the maximum penalty for administrative case is dismissal from service.

    In a statement sent to Senate reporters, Gordon said aside from him, the other senators who signed the committee report were Sonny Angara, Pia Cayetano, Sherwin Gatchalian, Christopher Go, Risa Hontiveros, Lacson, Imee Marcos, Emmanuel Pacquiao, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, Grace Poe, Ramon Revilla, Francis Tolentino, Cynthia Villar, and Leila de Lima.

    The ex-officio members who signed were Senators Ralph Recto, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Drilon.

    The senators who did not sign were Lito Lapid and Francis Pangilinan who are both on official leave.

    Gordon said Sen. Nancy Binay, member of the Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, can also be considered as a signatory of the committee report since the case of the ninja cops was referred to the blue ribbon committee by the committees on constitutional amendments and justice.

    Gordon said he cannot understand why the DILG will not file administrative charges against Albayalde since evidence gathered during the Senate hearings were very clear that the resigned PNP chief was liable under the principle of command responsibility.

    Gordon earlier presented a summary of the committee report which found that Albayalde was “very liable” for graft for irregularities that attended the 2013 anti-narcotics raid.

    In the report, the panel said Albayalde can be slapped with violation of the Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for calling Aquino and Lacadin and asking them not to implement the dismissal orders against the erring cops.

    Gordon said Albayalde can also be charged with violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 due to the acts of the 13 ninja cops who recycled the illegal drugs seized but admitted he has no direct evidence linking the former PNP chief to the drug operation. – With Victor Reyes and Raymond Africa