Fresh DILG probe into ‘ninja cops’ case to conclude by year-end

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 5)— With new administrative cases on deck for police officials allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said authorities may complete their fresh probe into the “ninja cops” controversy before the year ends.

“I'm estimating in 45 days, without violating the rights for due process, matatapos namin itong investigation na ito (we will finish this investigation). And finally we can give final decision or solution to these admin cases,” Año told CNN Philippines’ Politics As Usual on Tuesday.

“I think so, by the end of the year, tatapusin namin ito (we will finish this),” he added.

The Interior chief noted seven administrative complaints for serious irregularity, dishonesty, grave misconduct, and grave irregularity have been filed against the 13 police officials linked to the controversial Pampanga drug raid.

Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte said he “expects” concerned authorities to impose administrative sanctions against erring government officials, including the so-called “ninja cops.”

The 2013 case was put into the limelight during the Senate panels’ investigation, which has led Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Richard Gordon to recommend graft and drug charges against former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde—for his men’s failure to account for 160 kilograms of shabu seized in the raid when he was still Pampanga police chief.

The Interior Department, however, found no sufficient evidence to file an administrative case against Albayalde over the issue.

Año earlier said the review board could not find a link between the former police chief and the 13 cops apart from “command responsibility.” 

He reiterated that the filing of criminal charges will still be up to the Justice Department and the Office of the Ombudsman.

Albayalde, Baloyo seek dismissal of charges

Albayalde, however, still faces a criminal complaint filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) against those tagged in the Pampanga anti-drug operation.

In his counter affidavit released Tuesday, Albayalde urged the panel of prosecutors to dismiss the charges against him, noting the complaint was based on "specious and unsubstantiated" allegations thrown against him during the Senate hearings.

"On its face, it does not sufficiently and adequately state the acts that I committed constituting the offenses charged…” his affidavit read.

READ: Magalong, Gordon question 'weak' criminal complaint vs. Albayalde

Meanwhile, PMaj Rodney Baloyo echoed Albayalde's sentiment, reiterating the 2013 case has already been “thoroughly and exhaustively” resolved years ago.

“I see no plausible and logical reason for the unprocedural and unexpected resurrection of the present case other than the political pressure and widely publicized clamor for its revival,” read Baloyo’s counter affidavit.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Gerg Cahiles contributed to this report.