INTERIOR Officer In Charge Eduardo M. Año issued a directive to Director General Oscar D. Albayalde to conduct its own investigation on the anomaly involving the P58.849-million daily additional substance allowance (ASA) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF).
Año also ordered the filing of administrative cases at the National Police Commission (Napolcom) for removal from the PNP of those behind the scheme.
The probe was the first marching order of the DILG chief to newly installed PNP chief Albayalde.
Año specifically told Albayalde to “get [to] the bottom of the SAF allowance mess and file charges [against those who are involved].”
When asked why Año ordered Albayalde to investigate ASA corruption when the Office of the Ombudsman and the Senate will conduct their respective probe on the controversy, DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan E. Malaya said even “cases [were] filed in the OMB [or even the Senate will do its own investigation on the controversy, it] does not divest [the] PNP/DILG with [its] authority to conduct its own probe.”
“[The] PNP can always investigate its own people regardless of whether cases are pending in the OMB,” Malaya told the BusinessMirror in a text message.
What Albayalde will look into was the P30 daily ASA of each 4,000 SAF troopers for January 2016 to January 2017 that were not released to them.
The ASA was separate from the regular allowances policemen get from the PNP.
Año reportedly told Albayalde to “give outright priority in finding out how SAF officials were allegedly able to withhold and deprive SAF troopers of their daily subsistence allowance for several months since [January] 2016 [to January 2017].”
“This should be his first priority and will serve as litmus test on how he will carry out the internal cleansing program within the police organization,” the DILG chief was quoted as saying by Malaya.
Malaya, DILG assistant secretary for Capacity Development, Public Affairs and Communications, however, made it clear that Año’s order to Albayalde “doesn’t mean [the DILG chief doesn’t] trust the OMB or the Senate.”
“Conducting [its] own [PNP’s] investigation into the conduct of your own people is simply due diligence and common sense,” he explained. “Moreover, the purpose of the PNP investigation is to determine the facts of the case, file admin[istrative] cases to hold those responsible or accountable, ensure that SAF troopers receive their allowances immediately and apply corrective measures to ensure this won’t happen again.”
Malaya further explained “the objective of the OMB case is to file criminal cases in the Sandiganbayan.”
“[Meanwhile,] the objective of the Senate investigation is in aid of legislation,” he said. “Each body has different objectives and the DILG/PNP cannot renege on its responsibility or its mandate otherwise [we] will be criticized [as] dragging our feet or whitewashing this entire mess.”
Malaya said Año is confident that Albayalde will dig into the controversy deeper to give justice to the SAF members because he himself was once a SAF official.
“[Albayalde was] a former SAF commando and official so he knows the struggles of SAF and how they look forward to receiving additional benefits from the PNP,” he added.
Año pointed out that “the PNP should conduct its own fact-finding investigation to ensure that the SAF allowance mess is an isolated case and to craft appropriate policies that will prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.”