President Rodrigo R. Duterte will await results of investigations by the Senate and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año before deciding on whether or not to fire Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde over his alleged involvement in the so-called ninja cops issue.
Duterte said he would let Senate and Año finish complete their investigations “in obedience to the separation of powers and respect for each others’ department.”
“The most proper thing to do, which is he in line with procedural due process, is to await for the closure of the investigation by the Senate and when it is forwarded to me since it is under — the police is under DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government). It’s a bureau under Secretary Año,” Duterte said in a press conference held at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport before his departure to Russia on Tuesday night.
“So I will forward it to him, give him specific period to complete his investigation. Not so short, not too long, but a period of time that is comfortable if he needs to call people. But all he has to do is to review. And if he needs to conduct altogether another investigation, he can do so,” he added.
Asked to air his thoughts on allegations against Albayalde, Duterte said he would rather not “preempt” the investigation being conducted by the DILG chief.
“If you have to insist that his only link there na ‘yung mga tao na ‘yon (that those people) was — were under his command, up to that point. I don’t know if Secretary Año would… I do not want to preempt. But I would say that this is not a brief for Albayalde,” Duterte said.
Duterte expressed confidence that Año would be “in his proper equanimity” when he begins the investigation.
“Our emotions, our disappointments and anger do not come to play in investigations,” Duterte said.
Meanwhile, Duterte said dismissing a top official should be done “for a good reason” and with “enough proof.”
He assured that procedural due process would be followed and that he would be “fair.”
“When I decide on the basis of the report of Secretary Año, I can dismiss, discharge, terminate any and all of them. So hintayin ko ‘yan (I’ll wait for it),” Duterte said.
“But we will be fair. There has to be… Alam mo ang (You know the) PNP is not that bad. By and large, we have a very good PNP working for our country,” he added.
He, however, acknowledged the existence of the so-called “ninja cop syndicate”, which is involved in the recycling of illegal drugs.
“Iyong (Those) scalawags diyan sa ‘yung (there in those) ninja cops have been there in Manila, one or two in Davao, and everywhere,” Duterte said.
“Iyong amin sa probinsiya natapos na namin (In our province in Davao, we have dismantled it). The ninja cops dito sa (here in) Greater Manila Area are known for their ferocity, viciousness and toxicity. I am sure the investigations will bare these things right,” he added.
Earlier, Albayalde said that the ninja cop syndicate “is a thing of the past” since it has been dismantled since the time of former PNP chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
However, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Aaron Aquino bared that a list of ninja cops coming from Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong showed that a total of 53 active police officers have been named ninja cops.
Magalong is former chief of the PNP’s Criminal Investigation Detection Group.
In a separate interview, Albayalde questioned Magalong’s motive to implicate him as protector of policemen involved in the illegal drug trade.
Albayalde expressed hope that the allegations hurled against him would not affect Duterte’s trust and confidence in him or the campaign against illegal drugs.
He said it would be up to the President to decide on his fate.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that regardless of probe results, there would be “no sacred cows” in the Duterte administration. (PNA)