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Home Op-Ed Columns Opinion on Page One The unmasking of Oscar Albayalde

The unmasking of Oscar Albayalde


THE authorities should watch closely two 40-foot container vans inside the customs zone that, my informers say, contain crystal meth (street name: shabu).

The vans arrived at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) from China last January and have not been taken out of the customs zone until now.

My informers say their consignees are “waiting for the right time” to take the shipments out of customs.

One of the container vans is Wanhai No. WHLU5559440.

The other is Evergreen container van No. EGHU9193449.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) was tipped off about the van but has not taken action, according to my informers.

Bureau of Customs officials were informed about the suspected containers, but they told my informers that the vans contained ukay-ukay (used clothing).

My informers estimate the value of the two shabu shipments at P60 billion.

* * *

It seems the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is the only agency left that has not been tainted in the war on drugs.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) and PDEA are under suspicion for their men’s involvement in the illegal drug traffic.

I shuddered — as millions of people did — while watching the live coverage Tuesday of the Senate investigation into the involvement of some policemen in the recycling of seized drugs by selling them in the market.

Gen. Oscar Albayalde, the PNP director general, was accused by his former colleague, PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino, of protecting “ninja cops” during the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on Tuesday.

Ninja cops are policemen who sell the drugs that they have confiscated.

Aquino said Albayalde persuaded him in 2016 to set aside the dismissal order he had issued against 13 ninja cops who were under Albayalde when he was Pampanga police director.

Aquino was then the Central Luzon police regional director while Albayalde was director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).

“Sir, maybe for the meantime you can have that (dismissal of the cops) reviewed because I want to know what would happen to the result of that investigation,” Aquino quoted Albayalde as telling him.

This means that the PNP chief, who was NCRPO director at the time, was interceding for his former errant subordinates.

Retired police Maj. Gen. Benjamin Magalong, former chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), urged Aquino — who was seated next to him at the Senate hearing — to tell the senators what Albayalde had asked him to do. “Sabihin mo kung anong sinabi mo sa akin. Sinong kumausap sa iyo (Tell them what you told me, who talked to you),” Magalong told Aquino during the hearing.

Magalong, who’s now the Baguio City mayor, disclosed to the senators the identities of the ninja cops in an executive session.

He most probably identified Albayalde as one of the ninja cops.

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto 3rd said what Magalong told the open blue ribbon committee hearing was what he had told the senators in the executive session, implying that the former CIDG chief was telling the truth.

Magalong always tells the truth, if you ask me.

In the aftermath of the Mamasapano massacre, Magalong, testifying in a Senate inquiry, blamed his superior, Alan Purisima, the then-PNP chief, for the fiasco.

Magalong, who was the chief of the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, headed the board of inquiry that looked into the fiasco.

This guy Magalong doesn’t give a hoot who gets hurt when he opens his mouth.

So, when he implicated Albayalde in the ninja cop controversy at the Senate hearing, Magalong was being his usual honest self.

* * *

As a result of Albayalde’s intervention, the 13 ninja cops, who were recommended for dismissal by Aquino as Central Luzon police director, were just assigned to Mindanao.

My goodness, the PNP throws all its garbage to Mindanao!

Why did Albayalde intervene in behalf of his former men who recycled seized drugs?

That’s a question that only Albayalde can answer.

* * *

When he was chief of the NCRPO, Albayalde never acted on the complaints against errant cops in Metro Manila.

I should know because I called Albayalde many times about complaints against his subordinate policemen by civilians.

My public service program, “Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo,” referred to Albayalde complaints about abuses allegedly committed by his men.

Once, I referred to Albayalde a complaint from a Chinese businessman who was harassed by some Makati policemen.

Instead of berating the cops, he scolded the Chinese businessman, prompting me to call then-Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go who told the President about my concern.

As a result, President Digong had the errant cops assigned to fight in the siege of Marawi City.

That’s why when he was appointed PNP chief to replace the equally incompetent Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who retired, I was one of those who received the news with disbelief.

Many of his fellow officers don’t respect Albayalde, sa totoo lang (truth be told).

“Bakit siya pa, ang daming matino na opisyal diyan (Why him when there are so many decent officers around)?” commented one PNP official who claims to know Albayalde “from head to toe.”

That PNP official’s words were prophetic with Albayalde now being implicated in the illegal drugs traffic.

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