Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde — then the Regional Director of National Capital Region Police office — had allegedly asked then PNP Region 3 Regional Director Aaron Aquino not to implement the dismissal order against 13 police officials who were previously under Albayalde’s supervision in connection with the alleged drug recycling among police officers during a drug bust in 2013.
Former PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Chief and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong made the claim Tuesday while testifying in a Senate probe on the issue.
Aquino, now the chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, said Albayalde had indeed called him up about the case.
The 13 police officials were initially ordered dismissed in 2014 due to grave misconduct over the questionable drug buy bust in 2013 but were later deemed demoted in 2017 after filing an appeal in March 2016.
When the 2013 drug bust was conducted, Albayalde was the acting police director of Pampanga.
“I told the President (Rodrigo Duterte) about the drug bust in 2013. Si Aaron [Aquino], 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,” Magalong said, referring to a recent meeting with the President, Senator Bong Go, and now Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Chief Aquino.
“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 was initially hesitant to reveal Albayalde’s intervention for his men but eventually yielded when Magalong told him, “Last week, nag-usap kami ni Aaron. He told me everything. I know, Aaron you are in a tight situation. Bakit hindi mo sabihin kung ano yung sinabi mo sakin? Sinong kumausap sa 'yo?”
Aquino said Albayalde, then NCRPO chief, had called him to ask about the status of the order against the 13 Pampanga policemen.
“I cannot recall kung anong date yun, kung anong specific month, but it is between July and December 2016. Nagtatanong siya 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,’” he added.
He said he told Albayalde that he will ask the chief regional legal officer to review it.
Albayalde admitted making the call but insisted that he just asked for the status of the dismissal order but insisted he had no intention to influence Aquino.
“Yes, I asked for the status, only the status. I could not possibly influence an RD (regional director) or an upper classman,” he said, referring to Aquino who was a year ahead of him at the Philippine Military Academy.
“Of course, 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. It is but normal that families would ask their former boss for the status of these people,” he added.
“But I never asked for a favor. I was asking for the status that is the very reason why General Aaron here ordered for the review of the case which is I think normal in the process of PNP.”
Albayalde, however, confirmed that the 13 police officers in question were assigned to Mindanao for a significant amount of time.
Gordon asked if former Region 3 police chief Amador Corpuz, who succeeded Aquino, is a classmate of Albayalde, to which the latter replied in the affirmative.
“So it is surprising to us here that Gen. Corpuz would suddenly demote and amend the dismissal order of a high-ranking general before him,” Gordon said, referring to the order of Corpuz to demote the 13 by one rank instead of dismissing them. —JST, GMA News