MANILA

Albayalde likely to finish term, Palace says

PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde will likely finish his term and retire as scheduled on November 8, 2019 despite allegations linking him to the recycling of illegal drugs.

Speaking to Palace reporters, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Albayalde would have been fired already had the President lost his trust and confidence in him.

"Tinanong kasi siya (Duterte) kung do you still have trust and confidence. Ang sagot niya, 'Eh nandiyan pa siya eh. Eh 'di sana wala na siya [kung hindi].' 'Di ba 'yun ang exact words ni Presidente," Panelo said, when asked if Albayalde would be able to finish his term until November 8.

(He was asked, "Do you still have trust and confidence?" His answer was, "He's still there.

Otherwise, he's not there [if I don't]. Weren't those the exact words of the President? The President, in an interview upon his arrival in Davao City Sunday from Russia, said Albayalde has the right to be heard and should be given due process.

Just weeks before reaching the mandatory retirement age, Albayalde was accused of protecting ninja cops or those who allegedly recycle confiscated narcotics from nabbed drug offenders.

Albayalde was the head of the Pampanga police when 13 of his former subordinates conducted an anti- drugs operation and declared only 36.68 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) out of the more than 200 kilos that were confiscated.

He was relieved over command responsibility and the 13 officers were later ordered dismissed.

The dismissal order against the 13 erring cops was however donwngraded to a one-rank demotion after they filed an appeal.

Duterte earlier directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to investigate Albayalde and other policemen tagged in the recycling of illegal drugs.

On Sunday, October 6, Duterte said Albayalde was presumed innocent, unless there was a "clear proof" that the PNP chief indeed has links to narcotics trade.

Panelo reiterated that the President would await the results of the investigation conducted by the DILG before making any move.

But the Palace official nevertheless said a lifestyle check on the members of the PNP would be a "very good idea," after Albayalde and other cops were tagged in the illicit drug trade.

"That's a very good idea. There should be lifestyle check internally among PNP and for that matter, whole heads of departments should conduct it on their own," he said.

"It will help because if you can see that there are people there who are not supposed to be having this kind of wealth, oh eh 'di may problema nga (So there is a problem there)," Panelo added. (SunStar Philippines)


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