PNP-CIDG includes ex-boss Albayalde in drug complaint

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has filed a criminal complaint against their own former chief General Oscar Albayalde on Monday, October 21.

In a drug complaint submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) against the 13 so-called "ninja cops" from the anomalous 2013 Pampanga anti-drug operation, Albayalde was included and named as the first respondent.

"The PNP, as complainant aims to avoid undue influence, collusion, and partiality that may be extended against herein police officers as a result of familiarity with the local prosecution office," said the CIDG's amended referral complaint addressed to Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento.

They were accused of violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, bribery, falsification of documents, perjury, and dereliction of duty.

The complaint stemmed from an operation in Mexico, Pampanga, where the 13 cops were found by the CIDG to have stashed away over a hundred kilograms of shabu (methamphetamine), accepted a P50-million bribe from the drug suspect for his freedom, and then arrested a fall guy.  

The resigned police chief was accused of the following:

The 13 policemen, meanwhile, were accused of the following:

Major Rodney Baloyo IV was also accused of twice falsifying papers and statements, or violation of Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code. Lieutenant Joven de Guzman, Staff Sergeant Ronaldo Santos, and Corporal Romeo Guerrero were also accused of perjury or violation of Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code.

Original complaint

When the operation occurred, Albayalde was the acting police chief of the Pampanga police provincial office. He did not face criminal complaints then. He was only placed on "floating status" – placed in a holding unit – for 8 months for command responsibility. (READ: 'Spectacle of a grand cover-up': Senate hearing bares how 'ninja cops' remain in service

The CIDG originally filed a complaint in 2014, but it was dismissed by the DOJ in 2017. The probe was reopened after the "ninja cops" controversy was brought to the attention of the Senate blue ribbon and justice committees, which probed the operation in a hearing originally intended to scrutinize the controversial Good Conduct Time Allowance law.

During the congressional probe, retired generals accused Albayalde of negligence, if not complicity, in the questionable buy-bust operation. They said it was impossible that Albayalde was not privy of the drug sting, and that when the operatives were ordered dismissed, he intervened for the delay of their dismissal. 

Before the CIDG probed operation, Albayalde used the bust as grounds for his and his operatives' promotion, according to testimonies at the Senate. Senators, ex-generals, and now the CIDG accused him of simply parroting the report of his men without due diligence to investigate the irregularities.

Albayalde welcomed the complaint, saying in a text message to reporters, "At least I will be accorded due process now." –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.