Albayalde ready to face Senate probe on 'ninja cops'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 27) — Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde on Friday accepted the invitation of senators to shed light into the alleged involvement of police officers in the illegal drug trade.

"Nakahanda si PNP Chief, Police General Oscar Albayalde na humarap sa pagdinig ng Senado para bigyan ng linaw ang isyu na diumanoy mayroon pa ring mga tiwaling pulis na pinaghihinalaang may kaugnayan sa iligal na droga," PNP said in a statement.

He, along with other policemen implicated in the controversy, was invited to the next hearing of the Senate Justice and Blue Ribbon committees on October 1. This will be part of the ongoing hearing on the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) for convicts which will also discuss the topic of so-called "ninja cops" or police officers allegedly recycling or reselling drug evidence.

Albayalde, a former director of the Pampanga police district, was administratively relieved during a preliminary investigation on a drug case involving cops in the province in 2014. His subordinates allegedly recycled hundreds of illegal drugs confiscated during an operation.

Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson said that questioning Albayalde about the 2014 incident could still be related to GCTA as it could establish the link of policemen to drug lords who could have benefitted from the law.

"The known high-profile drug lords were the ones contacted by these police officers to sell the drugs they confiscated, a big chunk of it," Lacson said.

Senators refused to confirm or deny if Albayalde was among the 15 officers in the "ninja cops" list. The list was drawn out from the testimony of former Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) chief and current Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, during a closed-door meeting Tuesday.

Senator Bong Go, Duterte's former aid, said the President Rodrigo Duterte would publicize this list within the week.