Former Director-General Oscar Albayalde of the Philippine National Police (PNP) defended his record as the highest-ranking police officer under the previous administration.
Albayalde was appointed to that position by then-president Rodrigo R. Duterte, whose war on drugs, according to Human Rights activists, allegedly claimed the lives of 30,000.
Albayalde succeeded former PNP chief now Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa.
Albayalde disputed the number of victims, saying such figures are “highly exaggerated.” He acknowledged, however, that extrajudicial killings may have occurred before during his term, but he said the crimes were perpetrated by elements, which the police had nothing to do with.
He also denied that it was an official policy of the government to kill drug addicts and petty criminals.
Albayalde was fielding questions from officers and members of the Capampangan in Media Inc. (CAMI) at Bale Balita Thursday in Clark Freeport after being invited by the group to answer questions about his role in the war on drugs when word came out that may be planning to enter politics.
The former PNP chief said he was still uncertain whether he would file his candidacy for the mayoralty post in Angeles City or as congressman of the 1st District of Pampanga.
“I never tolerated summary executions,” Albayalde stressed. “In fact, I ordered the relief of all the policemen in that Caloocan police precinct, under which jurisdiction the murder of Kian Delos Santos occurred to prevent the perpetrators from hindering the investigation and influencing its outcome.”
The four policemen involved in the crime—Chief Inspector Amor Cerillo, PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jerwin Cruz, and PO1 Jeremias Pereda—were tried, found guilty, and given life sentences.
A graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, Class 1986, Albayalde said the perception that he resigned from his post was not true. He said he merely went on a non-duty status, preparatory to his mandatory retirement on October 29, 2019.
He said he took that unprecedented course of action for a PNP chief to spare the police organization from the controversy arising from his handling of the drug war.