Senator Richard Gordon welcomed the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) announcement that it would file charges for violation of the anti-graft law against former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde over the ‘ninja cops’ case.
However, Gordon pointed out that more serious charges should also be filed against Albayalde aside from violations of Republic Act (RA 3019) or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or the public would view it as molly-coddling the former PNP chief.
“It is a veritably a positive development that the DOJ recognized that Albayalde has done something wrong and wants to prosecute him. He is the first PNP official who has been charged
and found guilty by the Blue Ribbon and now by the DOJ. Nevertheless, we feel that the charge is incommensurate with all the offenses he has done. If the charges are made to stand as they are now, and none more serious is added, the DOJ will be seen as mollycoddling Albayalde,” he said.
The DOJ filed charges of violation of RA 3019 which is punishable by: 1. imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years, 2. perpetual disqualification from public office; and 3. confiscation or forfeiture of any prohibited interest and unexplained wealth manifestly out of proportion to his salary and other lawful income.
The committee report submitted after the joint hearing conducted by the Committees on Justice and Human Rights and the Blue Ribbon, which the DOJ relied on in reversing the original decision, recommended the following charges: 1. Conspiracy to commit Section 27 of R.A. No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Misappropriation, Misapplication or Failure to Account Seized Drugs) which is punishable by life imprisonment to death; fine ranging from P500,000.00 P10-million; absolute perpetual disqualification from any public office; 2. Violation of Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code. Punishable by prision correccional in its minimum period or six months and one day to two years and four months; and 3. Violation of RA 3019 Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, sections 3(a) and (e).
“We established during the hearing Albayalde’s acts of omission and commission which made him liable for the recommended charges. He committed perjury in saying that he did not know about the operation when he already issued a memo dated days before the operation was conducted. He also failed to take to task his men and even tried to use his own connections to get lighter sanctions for them by calling up various generals who also testified against him. He also committed others that could indict him, such as promoting his men and transferring them to choice posts where they continued to conduct the same modus operandi,” the chairman of both committees said.
“Remember that the case is filed not merely on behalf of a single person. It is a case against the people – thus, People of the Philippines vs Albayalde. As an elected representative of the people, I urge the DOJ to take another look because the acts of Albayalde are more grave than what they are right now contemplating,” he stressed.