No dismissal order vs. Albayalde, says Palace

Ruth Abbey Gita

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has not decided on Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde's fate, despite the latest allegations hurled against the embattled police chief, Malacañang said on Thursday, October 10.

Speaking to Palace reporters, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President has yet to react to the fresh claim that Albayalde, as then Pampanga provincial police chief, admitted receiving a share of dirty money from the reselling of seized illegal drugs.

"Wala namang sinasabing bago si Presidente (The President has not issued a new statement)," the Panelo said.

Pressed if Duterte already ordered the resignation of Albayalde, who is set to retire on November 8, Panelo said: "Wala. Wala akong narinig (There is none. I have not heard any directive from him)."

At a Senate hearing held Wednesday, October 9, retired police general Rudy Lacadin recalled that Albayalde, during a phone conversation sometime in 2014, admitted getting a small share from the proceeds of the illegal drugs operation conducted by 13 so-called ninja cops in November 2013.

Lacadin admitted that he was uncertain whether Albayalde was sincere or made his remark in jest.

Lacadin was summoned by the senators on Wednesday, as he was the one who conducted an investigation into the raid by 13 Pampanga police officers on a house in Mexico, Pampanga in November 2013.

The 13 Pampanga cops were initially ordered dismissed in November 2014 for allegedly keeping cash, vehicles, and more than 160 kilos of shabu worth around P648 million.

The dismissal order, however, was reduced to a one-rank demotion, after the policemen filed an appeal.

Albayalde, who is in hot water for his supposed intervention in the case of his former subordinates, vehemently denied Lacadin's narrative and claimed that there seemed to be a conspiracy against him.

For now, Duterte's stance to await the Senate and the Department of Interior and Local Government's (DILG) recommendation on Albayalde's fate stays, Panelo said.

"Hayaan mo yung Senado na mag-imbestiga, magkaroon sila ng findings. Hayaan mo si Secretary of DILG (Eduardo Año) mag-imbestiga and then magkaroon siya ng findings, recommendations. The President will act on them," he said.

(Let the Senate finish its investigation and release its findings. Let the DILG Secretary investigate and come up with findings and recommendations. The President will act on them.)

"Unless there is a statement to the contrary, the presumption is it remains the same," he added. (SunStar Philippines)