By Catherine S Valente /Manila Times
Malacanang yesterday backed the proposal to have police officers undergo lifestyle check amid the investigation of several police officers allegedly involved in the recycling of illegal drugs.
Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Philippine National Police (PNP) internal affairs unit could initiate the lifestyle review.
“It is a good idea. There should be lifestyle check internally among PNP, and for that matter, all heads of department should conduct their own,” Panelo told reporters.
“It will help (the anti-corruption campaign).If you see there are people who are not supposed to be having this kind of wealth, then you have a problem,” he added.
Sen. Richard Gordon, who leads the Senate probe on the recycling of seized illegal drugs, said PNP chief Oscar Albayalde and the 13 alleged “ninja cops” in Pampanga must undergo lifestyle check to determine if they benefited from the controversial 2013 drug sting against an alleged Chinese drug lord.
Albayalde and his former subordinates were accused of acquiring new sports utility vehicles after the drug operation where some 200 kilograms of shabu were allegedly seized.
But the police officers only declared 36 kilograms as evidence.
Gordon yesterday said Albayalde was either negligent or knew about the link of his former men to illegal drugs but chose not to investigate them.
Albayalde was Pampanga police chief when the drug operation was held.
“He is between negligence and possible knowledge of the offence and never did anything about it except talk to Gen. Aquino,“ Gordon said in a phone patch interview, referring to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino.
Asked if the Senate has clear proof for President Rodrigo Duterte to decide on Albayalde’s fate, Gordon said, “I think we have enough information for him to make a decision.”
“You’ll see that the Senate is interested to help in the president’s undertaking (against drugs). That was why it is wrong to say that this was all about politics),” he said.
“But again I want Gen. Albayalde to come forward to answer questions that need to be answered. “We will not make any hasty conclusions without him answering some questions,” he added.
Asked whether the committee has established Albayalde’s link to the illegal drugs trade, Gordon said, “Well, there are ways of being involved. One is by negligence or by your own fault. He never explained. One is by negligence wherein you did not do anything or by your own fault, you were really involved. He never explained why he did not conduct any investigation.”
Also yesterday, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra created a three-member panel of prosecutors to reinvestigate the complaint filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group against the so-called ninja cops.
The panel shall be headed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Alexander Suarez with Assistant State Prosecutors Josie Christina Dugay and Gino Paulo Santiago as members.
The panel has 30 days to complete its investigation.
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