Endorsing Albayalde as PNP chief haunts Bato

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    WHEN former PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde’s past caught up with him and he was forced to resign from his post over allegations of his supposed involvement with the operations of “ninja cops” under his watch, Sen. Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa said he felt guilty about endorsing the retired general to take over the reins of the police organization.

    Dela Rosa, however, said he has no regrets about endorsing Albayalde to President Duterte.

    The former PNP chief-turned-senator said President Duterte has not openly scolded him for his endorsement of Albayalde but knowing how the President thinks, he said he will not be surprised if the Chief Executive is blaming him.

    “Hindi naman kailangan sabihin [na sinisisi niya ako] pero apektado pa rin ako kahit paano dahil ako pa rin nag-recommend. Pero no regrets ako sa pagpili kay Albayalde na mag-replace sa akin dahil he did his best, he was just haunted by his past (The President does not need to tell right to my face that he is blaming me for endorsing Albayalde but I am still somehow affected because I was the one who recommended him to replace me. But I have no regrets because he did his best, he was just haunted by his past),” Dela Rosa told reporters in an interview.

    He added: “Hindi niya ako sinisi ng harap-harapan pero nasa isip niya, ‘tangna itong si Bato, siya nag-recommend.’ Alam ko naman ‘yun mag-isip (He [Duterte] is not openly blaming me but I know that he is saying ‘that son of a bitch Bato was the one who recommended Albayalde’. I know how he thinks).”

    Albayalde’s dark past haunted him after a Senate inquiry into the good conduct time allowance of prisoners at the New Bilibid Prison branched out to alleged illegal activities of inmates in cahoots with ninja cops.

    Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, who was a former chief of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, testified before the Senate hearing that members of the Pampanga Police Provincial Office, which Albayalde headed at the time, conducted a sham raid on the house of a Chinese drug lord and under-declared the amount of shabu seized and let the high-profile suspect to “escape” in exchange for millions of pesos in bribe money.

    The under-declared shabu was reportedly sold back to the streets.

    Albayalde came under fire when senators learned that he reportedly tried to block the dismissal from service of the 14 ninja cops from Pampanga.

    Albayalde stepped down as PNP chief last October 14 to pave the way for an impartial investigation against him. He officially retired from service last November 8.

    Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa, the deputy PNP chief for administration, was automatically named PNP officer-in-charge due to his position as the number two man of the PNP.

    Interior Secretary Eduardo Año earlier said he recommended Gamboa, Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan (the deputy PNP chief for operations), and Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar (the chief of directorial staff) as possible replacements for Albayalde but Duterte has not yet picked anyone among the three.

    Dela Rosa, Albayalde, Gamboa, and Cascolan all belong to PMA Class of 1986, while Eleazar is from PMA Class of 1987.

    Dela Rosa said Duterte has not asked for his recommendation as who can be next PNP chief to replace Albayalde.

    He said, though, that even if the President asks him to make a recommendation, he will not make any.

    “Kapag tatanungin niya ako di pa rin ako magsasabi dahil sabihin niya bias ka.

    (But even if Presidente Duterte asks for my recommendation, I will not make any recommendation because he might think that I am biased),” he said.