Groups demand accountability as police chief resigns over ‘recycled drugs’ mess

Former police chief Oscar Albayalde (Photo by Philippine News Agency)

“General Albayalde must be held accountable, along with those implicated in cases of corruption, under this war against drugs, which has been proven to be as a failure, bogus, and deceptive.”

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — The Philippine National Police chief may have resigned from his post yesterday, Oct. 14 but calls for accountability ring louder.

Top police chief Oscar Albayalde’s resignation came in the wake of his implication in the so-called “ninja cops” issue, where erring police officers reportedly recycled confiscated illegal drugs.

Albayalde was supposed to retire from office in November until he was implicated by former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief and now Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong in Senate proceedings accusing him of interceding to delay the dismissal of the accused police officers, which was subsequently changed to mere demotion.

Albayalde said he submitted his resignation letter both to President Rodrigo Duterte and to Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año “after careful thought and deliberation.”

However, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro said his resignation is not enough.

She said, “if the president is serious against corruption and genuinely aims to rid his administration of illegal activities, the buck should not stop with General Albayalde and it should not stop with his resignation.”

Double standards

Early this month, Duterte has reportedly demanded for “clear proof” of Albayalde’s reported involvement in illegal drugs, adding that he needs to “review” the inquiry before he can adopt its results.

The president also backtracked on his earlier statement, where he claimed that at least two generals are implicated in recycling seized illegal drugs, and instead said that he got confused with police ranks when he actually meant colonels not generals.

“There are no generals (involved). I am sure of that. There were colonels involved, not generals, based on the report I received,” Duterte said in Filipino.

This, however, is not the first time that the president’s political appointee or those within his immediate circle has been implicated in illegal drugs.

During his stint as Customs chief, Nicanor Faeldon resigned from office, following a Senate inquiry on the release of five metallic cylinders containing P6.4-billion smuggled shabu from Manila port.

Faeldon was again involved in yet another controversy on the questionable implementation of the Good Conduct Time Allowance. He was consequently “fired” by President Duterte though the latter played coy when asked if Faeldon may be subject to another appointment.

Still, the president’s own son Paolo Duterte and his then close aide now Sen. Christopher Go were also hounded with similar controversies on their reported involvement with illegal drugs. During the midterm elections, Go even took off his shirt twice to prove that he had no tattoo linking him to a narcotics syndicate.

In an earlier statement, Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said that the problems and anomalies hounding Duterte’s war against illegal drugs prove that it is a “bogus scheme against criminality.”

“The real criminals are uniformed men who mastermind drug recycling, yet kill poor Filipinos,” Palabay said, adding that the biggest organized crime in the country is that of the Duterte administration that is “raking in millions from the illegal drug trade.”

Fisherfolk group Pamalakaya, meanwhile, warned the president not to recycle Albayalde by appointing him to another government post as he will “earn the people’s broad resentment.”

Bogus war drugs

Castro emphasized how the “ninja cops” issue, along with the questionable implementation of the Good Conduct Time Allowance, exposes Duterte’s sham war against illegal drugs.

Human rights groups estimate that more than 20,000 – mostly alleged poor users and peddlers — have been killed in Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

Apart from holding Albayalde to account, Castro called for an end to the “war on drugs,” which, she said, has “claimed thousands of lives without due process.”

Castro added, “General Albayalde must be held accountable, along with those implicated in cases of corruption, under this war against drugs, which has been proven to be as a failure, bogus, and deceptive.”()

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