Now it can be told.
President Rodrigo Duterte had asked Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde to vacate his post amid the Senate inquiry that linked the top cop to the “agaw bato” scheme by his former subordinates at the Pampanga Provincial Police Office (PPO).
This was disclosed on Monday by Sen. Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong” Go minutes after Albayalde officially announced he was vacating his post ahead of his mandatory retirement on 8 November.
Go relayed that the Chief Executive tasked Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año to order Albayalde to take a terminal leave.
“(President Duterte asked Secretary Año) to advise General Albayalde to take a leave… not early retirement because Albayalde’s retirement is on 8 November. It’s different from resigning,” Go said. “Maybe, you can call it as terminal leave.”
Go added, “(He was ordered to) take a leave until the date of (his) retirement.”
Albayalde yesterday announced that he is vacating the PNP top post to give the President a free hand in appointing his replacement. He said he will go on non-duty status until his retirement.
“General Albayalde was really having a difficult time leading the PNP while the investigation is ongoing and also to give the President enough time to choose the next PNP chief,” Go added.
New start for PNP
Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Committees on Justice and Human Rights and Blue Ribbon that jointly led the inquiry, said he felt a “little bit sorry that this happened to him because this is really a big case.”
“I think his resignation will allow the PNP to reexamine itself and look for good and competent men,” Gordon said.
“I think that’s the start of the new life with the PNP. A new culture in the PNP,” he added.
According to Gordon, the PNP should stop its practice of protecting classmates or prioritizing loyalty to fellow officers.
“They must punish on the basis of the welfare of the country and not loyalty to a class or loyalty to their fellow cops,” the senator said. “It’s their credibility that is at stake here.”
PNP not distracted
Lt. Gen. Francisco Gamboa, Albayalde’s mistah from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Sinagtala Class of 1986 and currently PNP Deputy Chief for Administration, was designated as officer-in-charge.
“I would like to address the entire PNP. To our elements — our PCO (police commissioned officers), PNCO (police non-commissioned officers), NUP (non-uniformed personnel), this is a temporary sequence of events that is going to happen in the next few days,” Gamboa said in a presser a few hours after Albayalde’s resignation.
“This is a transition, but we should not be remiss of our job. Let’s do our job, you know your job on a daily basis what you are supposed to do and let not the other controversies affect us,” he added. “Let’s continue to work which is to serve and to protect our people.”
The change in the organization’s leadership, according to Gamboa, is just one aspect and all 190,000-strong PNP must be able to adapt.
“The PNP is very dynamic. There is no question that we are supposed to adjust and the leadership in the PNP is just one thing. There are still a lot of things that should be looked into. It doesn’t mean that because there is a new chief, we will just stop and say we need to reflect first and think of how things should be,” he stressed.
“We expect these things to happen and we are — and we should be ready with these kinds of things happening within the organization,” he further said.
Drugs, cash and SUV
During the Senate inquiry, former PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) director and incumbent Baguio City Mayor Magalong identified Albayalde’s former men as having been involved in the 2013 “agaw bato” (drug recycling) scheme in Mexico, Pampanga.
With Francis T. Wakefield, Kristina Maralit, Elmer N. Manuel and Keith Calayag