SEN. Richard Gordon is disappointed with the decision of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to indict former PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde only for graft charges over the 2013 “ninja cops” controversy.
Gordon, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said Albayalde should be charged with violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act in connection with the sham drug raid carried out by 13 Pampanga ninja cops way back in November 2013.
In an interview over radio dzBB, Gordon said the DOJ should have given more weight to the findings of the Senate blue ribbon committee instead of merely relying on the information filed by the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).
Gordon said he can only surmise that the CIDG investigation on Albayalde was not thorough since it only held the former PNP chief liable for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for “persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations in connection with the official duties of the latter” and “for causing any undue injury to any party, including the government.”
“Dapat si Albayalde kasama doon sa Dangerous Drugs. Ang lumalabas namimili na naman tayo. Katulad dati, si Albayalde, floating, ‘yung iba, pina-imbestiga sa kanilang ginawa. Ang tagal-tagal bago ilabas ang imbestigasyon hanggang pumasok na ang Senado (Albayalde should have charged for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act. It appears that we are again being selective here, just like before when Albayalde was placed only on floating status while the others involved in the sham operation were ordered investigated. It took a long while for the outcome of the investigation to be out until the Senate stepped in and had its own probe),” Gordon said.
He said the Senate investigation on the ninja cops issue was very comprehensive since most of the senators who participated in the hearings were mostly lawyers.
“Dapat ang tiningnan niya ay ang blue ribbon (report) kasi kung iba-base mo sa pulis, may duda ako dahil magkabaro na naman ‘yan. Pati si mayor ng Baguio City sabi niya ‘I am not rejoicing’ (They should have looked into the blue ribbon report because if we base the cases to be filed on the police report, I have doubts because they are of the same feather.
Even the mayor of Baguio City [referring to former CIDG chief Benjamin Magalong] said, ‘I am not rejoicing’),” Gordon said.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson did not share Gordon’s opinion.
In an interview over radio dwIZ last Saturday, Lacson said he was convinced that Albayalde can only be held liable for graft because it was not established during the Senate hearings that he had a direct participation in the pilferage of drugs seized by the ninja cops during the fake operation.
“Sa criminal case naman walang tinatawag na command responsibility. It’s either kasama ka sa conspiracy o kaya accomplice ka or accessory after the fact. So maski nagkaroon ng pagdinig sa Senado, hanggang doon lang talaga ang tingin ko umabot ang ebidensiya doon sa kaso ni Gen. Albayalde. Walang naipakita roon na part siya ng conspiracy sa ginawa nina Baloyo and company
(There is no such thing as command responsibility in a criminal case. It’s either you are part of the conspiracy, or you are an accomplice, or an accessory after the fact. The evidence against Gen. Albayalde went only that far even when we conducted a Senate hearing. It was not established that he was part of the conspiracy of [Police Major Rodney] Baloyo and company),” Lacson said.
A DOJ panel of prosecutor last week found Albayalde guilty of graft for his deliberate failure to implement an order penalizing the 13 ninja cops involved in the sham drug raid when he was the provincial director of Pampanga.
The DOJ findings will be endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman.
Aside from Albayalde, the DOJ team also found probable cause to charge 12 of the 13 cops involved in the raid for misappropriating, misapplying or failing to account for confiscated drugs, planting evidence, delaying and bungling the prosecution of drug cases, and qualified robbery.
The panel found that the 12 erring cops misappropriated drug when they declared that only 36.6 kilograms of shabu were recovered when it was actually 200 kilos that were seized.
The cops were also accused of declaring only P300,000 in cash that was recovered during the same raid when evidence showed that they seized P10 million.
The DOJ panel also charged the police officers for arresting a certain Ding Wenkun instead of alleged Chinese drug trafficker Johnson Lee.
The controversy on the ninja cops forced Albayalde to step down as PNP chief on October 13, or barely a month before he formally retired from service in November last year.
Despite his opposition to the DOJ findings, Gordon said he will leave Albayalde’s case to the Ombudsman.
“Kapag nakita ng Ombudsman na mababaw ang finile, puwede nila i-upgrade ‘yan.
Nakataya ang kaso sa abugado o prosecuting officer, malaking bagay iyon. Kung maibababa pa ang kaso, it will be very bad for the morale of the people.