(OCTOBER 3, 2019) – An emotional Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino told a Senate investigation that he was asked by now-Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde not to implement disciplinary action against 13 erring Pampanga police officers involved in the resale of seized illegal drugs.
Aquino said at the resumption of the Senate hearing that he hesitated in the last hearing to divulge Albayalde’s request because of death threats.
He further explained that while Albayalde indeed called up to know the status of Police Major Rodney Baloyo and others, he also asked not to implement the resolution on the motion for reconsideration regarding the case of the cops.
“[H]e also added during the same [call] request, and I quote: ‘Sir, baka puwedeng huwag mo munang i-implement ang order,'” added Aquino, then a director of Region 3 Police Office, before narrating that when he asked Albayalde why, the latter answered “kasi mga tao ko sila.”
“The exact words are: ‘Sir, pinaghahandaan nila ang pamilya mo,'” the PDEA chief said. “I literally broke down into small pieces hearing the information… I feel so helpless and defeated. I was asking myself: Is this fight worth it? Why will I gamble the safety of my family,” he added.
Baloyo spearheaded the controversial buy-bust operation in Pampanga in 2013, when Albayalde was still Pampanga police director. At the time of the conversation between the two, Albayalde was the director-general of the NCR Police Office.
During the previous hearing, Aquino said Albayalde was only asking for the status of the Pampanga policemen’s case.
But Baguio City mayor Benjamin Magalong, who was then the chief of the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), who bared in the hearing that Aquino himself had told him earlier that Albayalde asked him not to implement an order.
However, the PNP chief said it would not have mattered, because the said motion for reconsideration was “partially granted” from dismissal to one-rank demotion by Brigadier General Rudy Lacadin, Aquino’s predecessor in the Central Luzon chief post.
“Hindi ko naman tinawagan si Gen. Lacadin, kaya maliwanag dito na hindi naimpluwensiyahan si Aquino. Ang decision noon pa ay already partially granted,” Albayalde said. (Randell Ritumalta/MM)