Albayalde threatens to sue ex-general who implicated him in 2013 drug operation

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde has threatened to sue the retired police general who had implicated him in the controversial 2013 drug operation in Pampanga when he was the provincial police chief.

Albayalde made the threat against retired general Rudy Lacadin in a statement on Thursday, October 10, as he denied rumors that he would step down as top cop ahead of his scheduled retirement early next month.

"Lacadin has a lot of explaining to do and he will have his day in court," Albayalde said.

During the Senate blue ribbon comittee hearing on Wednesday, October 9, Lacadin said that Albayalde called him up when he was tasked to investigate the 2013 drug operation in Mexico, Pampanga. He was PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) deputy chief then and Albayalde was Pampanga police chief.

In that phone call premised on his investigation, Lacadin recalled Albayalde telling him that the latter "only got a little" from the 2013 drug operation. He added that he wondered whether Albayalde made the admission "jokingly." (READ: 'Spectacle of a grand cover-up': Senate hearing bares how 'ninja cops' remain in service)

Albayalde's theory: Albayalde denied the narrative after being asked by senators to comment, claiming that generals were "ganging up" on him.

Albayalde upped the ante on the conspiracy theory on Thursday, stressing that the generals who accused him of wrongdoing, which included former CIDG chief and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, "worked with the previous administration."

Magalong, however, made a name for himself under the previous administration for being the first to pin down then-president Benigno Aquino III for lapses in the botched Mamasapano 2015 operation that left dozens of elite cops dead.

No resignation: In the same statement, Albayalde denied rumors swirling on Thursday that he had resigned as the police chief over the ninja cops mess.

"I question the timing of this attack and smear campaign against me. Until now, despite the Senate hearings conducted, no hard evidence was ever presented showing that I was involved in that drug raid in Pampanga in 2013. All statements made remain allegations, insinuations, and unsubstantiated," Albayalde said. 

Despite this, Albayalde himself has admitted that he made a call to former Central Luzon police chief and now Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino to ask for the status of their case. He has also admitted that the call was "improper." Notwithstanding, Albayalde said he would only leave his fate up to Duterte. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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