Less than 12 months ago, Oscar Albayalde was the highly regarded chief of the Philippine National Police, but a scandal that linked him to a questionable 2013 Pampanga drug raid has since not only cost him his job, it might now land him behind bars.
Yesterday, after several months of controversy, Albayalde was indicted by the Justice Department over the case, along with 13 other policemen who allegedly absconded several kilos of meth seized during the raid.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) said they would file a graft and corruption case against Albayalde, who was working as the chief of Pampanga’s police when the raid in question occurred, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports. The DOJ, through its investigators, found Albayalde liable for graft because he allegedly influenced Aaron Aquino, then the chief of Central Luzon police, not to dismiss the 13 officers involved in the raid. To this day, the men involved in the 2013 bust remain on active duty, although the officers were demoted and temporarily transferred to Mindanao.
Despite the graft indictment, the DOJ’s panel found there were no grounds to similarly indict Albayalde on accusations of misappropriating the drugs confiscated from the crime scene, falsifying public documents, and failing to prosecute his men.
The DOJ said their findings will be sent to the Office of the Ombudsman, according to CNN Philippines.Â The DOJ also found probable cause to charge 12 of the 13 policemen for failing to account for the missing drugs, planting drugs, failing to prosecute the case, and bribery. It is believed that the 13 cops allowed Chinese drug lord Johnson Lee to escape in exchange for a PHP10 million (US$196,283) bribe, as well as the hundreds of kilos of meth that they took from the crime scene.
Albayalde, who is currently in the United States, welcomed the indictment in a statement, saying it would finally give him the opportunity to have his day in court months after the controversy first broke out.
“I welcome this development as the chance to once and for all clear my name in the proper forum,” he said. “My conscience remains clear and I am confident that the truth will bear me out in the end.”
Shortly before resigning in October, Albayalde accused Aquino of lying about his alleged role in the scandal, and said Aquino had accused him of interfering on behalf of his men in 2013 because he wanted “publicity.”
This article, Justice Department indicts Albayalde for graft over questionable Pampanga drug raid, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!