MANILA – Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino retracted his allegation that Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde tried to influence his decision on the case of 13 alleged rogue cops from Pampanga, Sen. Richard Gordon said Wednesday.
Gordon said prior to Tuesday morning’s hearing, Aquino told him and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon that during his stint as Central Luzon police chief, Albayalde, then Metro Manila’s top cop, asked him not to implement the dismissal order against the 13 cops.
But Aquino suddenly changed tune during the hearing, saying Albayalde merely inquired about the status of his former men’s case during a phone call sometime in 2016.
“I’m very disappointed. I told him already kapag kausap ko sya sasabihin nya eto nangyari sir kinausap ako [ni Albayalde],” Gordon told reporters.
“Eto ha kasama ko si Senator Drilon nung sinabi nya yan… na tinawagan siya ni Albayalde para itigil, huwag niya na pirmahan yung report.. Ang tagal-tagal nung papel sa desk niya bakit hihintayin niya yung susunod sa kanya? In other words you are general, you act.”
Albayalde, as Pampanga police chief, was relieved from duty following the allegedly questionable anti-narcotics operation of his men in Nov. 2013 in Mexico town.
The team, led by then Supt. Rodney Baloyo, allegedly made off with some 160 kilograms of shabu worth around P648 million at the time following an anti-drug operation on alleged Chinese drug lord Johnson Lee.
Baloyo’s team also allegedly set Lee free and presented another Chinese, identified in reports as Ding Wengkun, in exchange for P50 million.
In November 2014, then Region 3 Police Director Raul Petrasanta ordered the dismissal of Baloyo and his men, but this was not served and implemented immediately. In 2017, under the leadership of Chief Supt. Amador Corpus, the officers were merely demoted.
Up to this day, the Pampanga cops tagged in the incident are still on active duty, and the justice department said it is expediting the review of their criminal cases and should come up with a decision in a month.
Gordon said former PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong was also disappointed with Aquino’s sudden turnaround.
Magalong said during the hearing that Aquino had even told President Rodrigo Duterte that Albayalde attempted to influence his decision on the cops.
Albayalde denied Magalong’s allegation, saying he only asked Aquino about the status of the case because the relatives of the cops were seeking updates from him.
Still, for Drilon, Albayalde’s phone call to Aquino was “very improper” considering he was the former boss of the alleged rogue cops.
Albayalde rejected Gordon’s call.
Drilon said whatever Albayalde’s decision in wake of the controversy would be, “his stint as PNP chief is tarnished by this revelation.”
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Gordon: Aquino retracted allegation vs Albayalde