Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde stepped in when he was the National Capital Region Police Office regional director to stop the implementation of the dismissal order against 13 police officials from Pampanga who were allegedly involved in reselling seized illegal drugs, two former police generals said.
At the continuation of the Senate’s inquiry into the alleged corruption inside the Bureau of Corrections Tuesday (October 1), retired Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said Albayalde called up then- PNP Region 3 regional director Aaron Aquino and asked him not to implement the dismissal order against the 13 cops in connection with an anti-drug operation in Pampanga in 2013.
The 13 police officials were under Albayalde’s supervision as Pampanga police chief when the anti-drug operation occurred.
Recalling the recent meeting he had with President Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Bong Go, and now Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Chief Aquino, Magalong said: “I told the President about the drug bust in 2013. Si Aaron, sinabi rin niya, inulit niya [sa Presidente] ‘yung sinabi niya sa akin. Sinabi niya kay Presidente na tinawagan siya ni General Albayalde, at sinabi sa kanya, huwag mo implement ‘yung [dismissal] order.”
“Sabi niya (Aquino), bakit hindi ko i-implement? [Sabi ni Albayalde], kasi mga tao ko ‘yan. Kaya ang ginawa ni Aaron Aquino, tinapon niya sa Mindanao para mayroong aksyon siya na ginawa,” Magalong added.
Aquino initially hesitated to confirm that Albayalde intervened to stop the dismissal of the Pampanga police officials.
However, Magalong told Aquino to just tell the senators what they talked about in their meeting last week.
“I know, Aaron you are in a tight situation. Bakit hindi mo sabihin kung ano yung sinabi mo sakin? Sinong kumausap sa ‘yo?” he said.
Aquino confirmed that then-NCRPO chief Albayalde called him sometime between July and December 2016 to ask about the status of the dismissal order against the 13 Pampanga police officials.
“Nagtatanong siya (Albayalde) ng status of the case nina Baloyo and I told him na gusto kong ireview muna ‘yung kaso na ‘yun nung time na yun,” he said.
“Sinabi niya sa akin na ‘Sir, for the meantime, baka pwedeng ipa-review n’yo muna ‘yan at ipa-check kasi gusto kong malaman kung ano talaga ang magiging result ng investigation na ‘yan.’ Sabi ko bakit mo tinatanong, ‘Kasi, sir mga tao ko ‘yan,’” Aquino added.
The PDEA chief said he told Albayalde then that he will ask the chief regional legal officer to review it.
Albayalde admitted calling up Aquino about the Pampanga dismissal order but insisted that he only wanted to know its status. He denied trying to influence Aquino.
“Yes, I asked for the status, only the status. I could not possibly influence an RD (regional director) or an upperclassman,” said Albayalde, who graduated later than Aquino from the Philippine Military Academy.
“I would ask them because people would also be asking me, the fate of their father, the fate of these policemen, it was because I was the former provincial director,” the PNP chief added.