THE Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday found probable cause to indict former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in connection with the controversial seizure of P648 million worth of shabu in Pampanga in 2013 by his subordinates tagged as “ninja cops.”
In a resolution issued by a three-man panel of prosecutors, the DOJ found probable cause to indict Albayalde under Section 3, paragraph (3) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for “persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting violation of rules and regulations in connection with the official duties of the latter and for causing undue injury to any party, including the government.”
Instead of conducting an investigation against his personnel, Albayalde is being accused by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) of commending and ordering the issuance of award for their involvement in the operation.
It was also alleged that Albayalde even attempted to persuade or influence then Police Regional Director 3 Chief Superintendent Aaron Aquino against implementing the decision to file administrative charges against the raiding team led by Police Major Rodney J. Baloyo IV.
Albayalde was the police provincial director of Pampanga when the anti-illegal drug raid was conducted.
The panel found no probable cause to indict Albayalde for violation of the Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002 as the acts attributed to him happened after the conduct of the anti-illegal drugs operations of his men.
However, the findings against Albayalde, according to the DOJ will be endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman, which has primary jurisdiction over crimes falling under the exclusive jurisdiction of anti-graft court, the Sandiganbayan.
“Under Republic Act 10660, the Sandiganbayan has exclusive original jurisdiction in cases involving PNP officers occupying the position of provincial director and holding the rank of senior superintendent and higher,” the DOJ said.
Baloyo and 12 other policemen were previously investigated by the DOJ after they were tagged as ninja cops for seizing 200 kilos of shabu in an anti-illegal drug raid, where they declared seizing only 36 kilos.
The case was dismissed by the DOJ in May 2014, but Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered the re-opening of the case following a Senate investigation that linked Albayalde in the controversy.
The PNP-CIDG submitted an amended complaint before the DOJ to include Albayalde as one of the respondents.
12 POLICEMEN TO BE INDICTED FOR VARIOUS CRIMES
The DOJ panel found the evidence submitted before it sufficient to establish probable cause to indict Baloyo and 11 other police officers, namely: P/Insp. Joven Bagnot De Guzman, Jr.; SPO1 Jules Lacap Maniago; SPOI Donald Castro Roque; SPO1 Ronald Bayas Santos, SPO1 Rommel Muñoz Vital; SPO1 Alcindor Mangiduyos Tinio; PO3 Dindo Singian Dizon; PO3 Gilbert Angeles De Vera; PO3 Romeo Encarnacio Guerrero, Jr.; SPO1 Eligio Dayos Valeroso; and SPO1 Dante Mercado Dizon for various criminal offenses.
The panel found that P/Supt. Baloyo, and the 11 police officers misappropriated drugs when they declared that only 36.60 kilos of shabu was seized during their operations, while the subsequent police investigation indicated that about two hundred (200) kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride was actually recovered.
The group likewise declared the cash they obtained from the operation to be only P300,000.00 while contrary evidence indicated that said amount reached P10 million.
“The Panel based the actual volume of the drugs and amount of money seized during the operation on, among others, the declaration contained in the Affidavit of Direct Participation of P/SInsp De Guzman and nine other respondents,” the DOJ said.
Some of the respondents were likewise found to have failed to declare and account for a Toyota Fortuner vehicle which was also seized during the operation.
Likewise, the panel found Baloyo and the other respondents chargeable with the crimes of planting of evidence, bungling of the prosecution of a drug case, and qualified bribery.
The panel noted that the group illegally arrested one Ding Wenkun instead of Johnson Lee from whom they seized the drugs, then implicated or imputed upon Wenkun the crime of illegal sale and possession of dangerous drugs despite their knowledge that it was Lee who should be charged therefor.
The case against Wenkun was eventually dismissed by the court.
The panel also recommended the filing of an information for violating regulations issued by the Dangerous Drugs Board regarding the chain of custody of evidence against PO3 Guerrero and SPO1 Santos another information for falsification by a public officer against P/Supt Baloyo who made untruthful statements in his Spot Report and Progress Report regarding the operation; and (another information for false testimony and perjury in solemn affirmation against SPO1 Santos and PO3 Guerrerro, Jr. who made untruthful statements in their Affidavit of Arrest against Wenkun.
The DOJ, however, cleared PO2 Anthony Lacsamana of any criminal liability for lack of evidence.