Get real
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 5 October 2019


It brings to mind a picture of hyenas circling around their prey for the kill—or a crowd turned into a mindless mob rushing over anyone in their way. I am talking about this get-Albayalde movement, this insistence that he resign as chief of the Philippine National Police, never mind his scheduled retirement on his 56th birthday this coming Nov. 8, or a little over a month from now.

Well, I’m having no part in it. Why not?  For one, I think it is a case of double jeopardy. To my knowledge, he was suspended from his post (as head of Pampanga’s police) while this affair was being investigated, and was cleared of all charges. So now the Senate is conducting another trial and finding him guilty, or at least saying he should resign? Come on.

Sen. Richard Gordon is the one who, among other things, completely believed in the National Bureau of Investigation’s Rafael Ragos (who testified that he had delivered P5 million to then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima), a witness who was discredited by the NBI itself, and who was discredited by Gen. Benjamin Magalong in the same hearings, as someone who was known to be connected to the drug trade. So I am going to take what Gordon says with maybe a ton of salt.

Aside from being cleared, Oscar Albayalde was promoted to be head of the National Capital Region’s police force. So the appointing authorities must have thought well of him, despite the “blot” on his record. He continued on to be appointed PNP chief—in which role he has never been accused of corrupt practices. What does his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) show?

If what the news reports say is true, and only 38 of 200 kg of shabu had been reported, the missing 162 kg would have fetched around P162 million (at P1,000 a gram). Say they sold it at less than market price—P500 a gram—that would fetch the “ninja cops” some P80 million. Reportedly, all the cops involved turned up with new cars. Were those cars confiscated from them? And did Albayalde’s SALN show an unreasonable rise?  Obviously not, so he did not partake of the drug money.

So Albayalde’s greatest transgression, as far as I can see, is his unfortunate call to Gen. Aaron Aquino, two years later, to ask him to either “please review the case well,” or “please, these are my boys,” or words to that effect. If that is why he is being asked to resign, for “unethical and inappropriate” behavior—only think, Reader, if we were to apply that metric evenly, of all the politicians and government officials who would have to also be asked to resign, especially for favors to and for their fraternity brothers or academy batchmates (this goes up to the highest levels).

I would also like to know the name of the person responsible for reducing the penalty of those ninja cops from dismissal to a one-rank demotion, in bold black letters. There is also another question, which all concerned should ask themselves: Where does loyalty to “brod,” “mistah” or “my men,” or “party” or “friend” or even “family” end, and where does loyalty to the country begin? It seems that country always ends up a poor, far second to these considerations.

Back to Albayalde. Do I say he comes with clean hands? No. I think he should not have made the call. But his colleagues who were witnesses to this transgression should also have drawn the line (Aquino, Magalong, etc.). They, therefore, do not come with clean hands either.

But shouldn’t he be made an example of?  Maybe he should—as long as we go after all those who contributed to this mess by omission or commission. And I don’t think the penalty is that he should be fired. Too severe.

I think the world of Magalong (except, General, I would like to ask what is the basis of your declaration that “we are winning the war on drugs”?). I also think the world of Albayalde. They are obviously not saints. It’s a pity that they have been pitted against each other like this. But as far as I am concerned, they are both worth their weight in gold.