NAPOLCOM now looking into Albayalde's possible hand in 2013 Pampanga raid

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 10) — The National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) is looking into Philippine National Police Chief General Oscar Albayalde's possible liability in the flawed Pampanga drug raid in 2013.

NAPOLCOM Chairman and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Thursday told CNN Philippines case review on the controversial drug sting is ongoing.

When asked if Albayalde's alleged involvement will be included in the probe, Año said yes.

The country's top cop has said he is willing to be investigated amid allegations he blocked the dismissal of his subordinate cops and that he benefited from the raid they conducted.

In a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Albayalde said he is willing as ex-officio member of the NAPOLCOM, to sign the results of the body's review, even if would lead to the relief of his men.

Thirteen of Albayalde's men supposedly kept 160 kilograms of shabu for themselves during an anti-drug operation in Mexico, Pampanga in November 2013. Albayalde was provincial police director during that time. The cops also got ₱50 million and some new cars in exchange for the freedom of drug trafficker Johnson Lee, an investigation showed.

Members of the raiding team, who are now called "ninja cops," were initially ordered dismissed. Four years after the raid, their punishment was downgraded to a one-rank demotion, something that has been heavily criticized by lawmakers.

Former Central Luzon regional police director and now Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Aaron Aquino said Albayalde asked him not to implement the cops' pending dismissal in 2016.

Albayalde denied this, saying he only asked Aquino about the status of the case.

Aquino's predecessor, retired Police Regional Office 3 regional director PCSupt. Rudy Lacadin, also said Albayalde called him to ask about the case. Albayalde supposedly said he only got "a little" from the raid. While Lacadin believes the remark may have been made in jest, some senators say the testimony was "damaging" to Albayalde's credibility.

Albayalde denied calling Lacadin. He stressed he did not get himself involved in the drug sting because it seemed like a "simple operation" then. He added that he was placed only on floating status for eight months but without facing administrative or criminal charges.

Albayalde said he will not resign from his post and that he is leaving his fate to President Rodrigo Duterte, who refuses to take action until the Senate wraps up its investigation. Duterte previously said Albayalde’s “only link” to the erring cops was that he happened to be Pampanga’s provincial director when the questionable drug raid happened.

CNN Philippines' Eimor Santos contributed to this report.