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Duterte eyes sanctions vs ‘ninja cops’

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he expects administrative sanctions to be imposed against policemen accused of recycling illegal drugs seized in government operations.

Speaking before newly appointed officials in Malacañang, Duterte said he would let the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Department of Justice decide on the case of resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde and his 13 men who have been tagged as “ninja cops.”

“I am putting my cards on Año’s table and kay Secretary of Justice. Ganito ‘yan, ang procedure kasi ng gobyerno ganito. ‘Pag may ma-demanda (The government’s procedure for that is that if there’s complaint), if there’s a wrong done, usually a department concerned should investigate. Itong sa mga pulis (These policemen), it’s Año sa administrative,” Duterte said, referring to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año  and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

“So, itong mga policemen, the ninja (These ninja cops) and everybody else in government, you must deal first with the department where you belong. And I expect the department to impose administrative sanctions, which include gross ignorance of the law. Then the administrative proceeding may mete out a punishment of separation,” the President added.

But Duterte noted that the Ombudsman would be the one to pursue the criminal charges against the said police officers

He also said he could not just adopt the Senate’s findings, noting that Congress was not under his authority.

“But for your criminal liability, it belongs now to the Ombudsman. So, siya na ‘yan. Ngayon, I just cannot adopt the investigation of the Senate because the Senate is not under me nor am I under the Senate,” Duterte said.

“So kung ano ‘yung imbestigasyon nila rebyuhin ko at kung tumama naman sa lahat (So whatever the result of their investigation, I’ll review it and if it’s consistent) on all force, to a T, then I will just adopt some but not all. Maybe in form or in whatever in the definition of the crimes to make it more clear sa magbasa ng kaso (to those who will review the case),” he added.

Albayalde, who quit his post ahead of his retirement on November 8, was included in the amended complaint that was forwarded by the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to the Justice department, which has opened its reinvestigation into the case of 13 Pampanga policemen who allegedly made off with some P648 million worth of shabu.

Albayalde, a former Pampanga police chief, was charged along with 13 of his former subordinates for graft, qualified bribery, falsification of public documents, dereliction of duty, and violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

During the Senate inquiry, Albayalde was also accused by then PNP-CIDG chief Benjamin Magalong that he sought to defer the dismissal order against his former subordinates.

Another retired police official, Rudy Lacadin, later claimed that Albayalde called him up to inquire about the case of the so-called “ninja cops” and allegedly admitted that some of the drug loot went to him but “only a little.”

But Albayalde said despite the Senate hearings conducted, no hard evidence was ever presented showing that he was involved in the questioned drug raid.

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