Home Op-Ed Columns Opinion on Page One Albayalde is now hounded by his dark past

Albayalde is now hounded by his dark past


THE dark past of Oscar Albayalde, the beleaguered chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), is slowly unraveling.

I talked with a retired police general, a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1972 about

This retired general told me that Albayalde was sniffing crystal meth (shabu) when he was a PNP chief inspector (major).

He got immediately hooked on shabu after his first taste of the illegal drug, according to the retired general.

Many officers, aside from Albayalde, also became addicted to shabu at the time, the general said, adding that it all started with curiosity.

“Many officers in the then PC and the PNP knew that [drug abuse within the organization], but it was talked about in whispers among the officers because they didn’t want to destroy the institution and the school,” said the retired police general, who asked that his name be withheld.

The PC the general referred to is the defunct Philippine Constabulary, forerunner of the PNP. The “institution” he mentioned is the PC, now the PNP, and the “school” is the PMA, from where Albayalde graduated in 1986.

When the bespectacled and mild-mannered PNP chief was Pampanga provincial police director, he was known as a “boxer,” said the retired general.

Boxer is police parlance for a person who is a tightwad or the opposite of generous. Imagine a clenched fist and you’ll know what the term means.

Anyway, most of his subordinates in the Pampanga PNP, this retired general said, complained that they were not given their share of the monthly jueteng bribe money.

Jueteng is an illegal numbers game, whose operators set aside hundreds of millions of pesos to bribe local and police officials.

Albayalde allegedly kept the monthly bribe money all to himself, unlike his predecessors in the Pampanga PNP command, who “spread the blessing.”

I was not surprised to hear that.

A congressman from Bicol has complained to me that the PNP chief was keeping most of the P35-million reward money put up for the arrest of the suspects in the assassination of Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe.

The Bicol congressman, who asked that his name be withheld, said Albayalde only gave P8 million to informers and kept the rest for himself.

Albayalde, the Bicol solon said, was pressuring him to release another P15 million that all congressmen from Bicol had pledged to put up as reward money in addition to the P35 million from the government.

“Ganoon kasiba ‘yan, Mon (That’s how avaricious he is),” said the congressman, referring to Albayalde.

I asked the retired general why nobody among his colleagues protested when Albayalde’s name turned up in the shortlist of candidates for PNP chief.

“I think it was because of the strong recommendation of ‘Bato,’” he said.

Bato is the nickname of Ronald dela Rosa, Albayalde’s immediate predecessor, who was Oscar’s classmate at the PMA.

Bato, who is now a senator, had the ear of President Digong because he was assigned in Davao City when Mr. Duterte was still mayor.

“If not for Bato, Albayalde’s chances of getting the top PNP post were zero. He was considered vomit by his fellow officers,” the general said.

* * *

For the nth time I say this without batting an eyelash: I pity my friend, the President, for being given the wrong advice by sycophants.

Oscar Albayalde was practically forced down the President’s throat by Bato, one of those bootlickers.

And it’s not only Bato who has given the Pangulo the wrong advice or recommendation.

Mr. President, please ask outside your inner circle before you make decisions of national significance the next time around.

The blunder on Albayalde was one too many.

* * *

Truckloads of deadly weapons — improvised knives and blunt intruments — were seized by policemen and prison guards during Wednesday’s demolition of kubol (private quarters of prisoners) at the New Bilibid Prison’s (NBP) maximum security compound in Muntinlupa City.

Which begs the question: What were the police troopers who belonged to the Special Action Force (SAF) doing at the NBP during all the time they were there?

The vaunted police commandos were assigned to secure the national penitentiary because of reports that the prison guards were in cahoots with some moneyed convicts.

It was said that SAF troopers were disciplined and so could not be corrupted.

Yeah, right!

SAF troopers are still policemen.

* * *

I pine for those years when the SAF was the real commando unit.

SAF was the brainchild of then Maj. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos (FVR), the PC chief and director general of the Integrated National Police (INP).

All SAF members were recruited from the PC, one of the major branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and not from the INP.

So, the original SAF members were soldiers, not policemen.

Ramos formed the SAF — derisively called by envious members of the PC as Sariling Army ni Fidel (Fidel’s private army) — as a counterpart of the Army Rangers.

The original SAF members were very disciplined like their counterparts in the Army Rangers.

During FVR’s time as PC/INP chief, the SAF did a very splendid job in anti-terrorism and anti-insurgency.

The SAF’s high standards in discipline plummeted when the PC became the PNP.

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Today’s Front Page December 09, 2019

Today’s Front Page December 09, 2019