See More on Facebook

Philippines opens probe into rogue, drug-selling ‘ninja cops’

The Department of the Interior and Local Government has started investigating the pilfering of confiscated illegal drugs by rogue policemen and the alleged coddling of involved officers.


Written by

Updated: October 7, 2019

The Department of the Interior and Local Government has started investigating the pilfering of confiscated illegal drugs by rogue policemen and the alleged coddling of involved officers by Philippine National Police chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde when he was the Pampanga police director in 2013.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has started investigating the pilfering of confiscated illegal drugs by rogue policemen and the alleged coddling of involved officers by Philippine National Police chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde when he was the Pampanga police director in 2013.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of President Rodrigo Duterte’s meeting with the Filipino community in Moscow on Saturday night, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the DILG, which oversees the PNP, began the investigation without waiting for the Senate to complete its inquiry into the “ninja cop” racket.

He said the President was waiting for the results of the investigations before deciding what to do with Albayalde.

“When we return to the Philippines, I will sit down with [National Police Commission] lawyers and the DILG legal service and check the status of the review of the case,” Año said.

Presumption of innocence

The President returned from a five-day visit to Russia on Sunday amid calls for the resignation of Albayalde, who, according to Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate investigative panel, is guilty “at the very least of negligence” in the pilferage of a substantial amount of drugs seized by policemen under his command when he was Pampanga provincial police chief.

Speaking to reporters after his arrival in Davao City, the President said Albayalde, like common criminals, enjoyed the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

“I have to follow procedural due process. And allow in time to answer. The right to be heard. It’s given to the criminals, to the kidnappers. It should be given to a general of the PNP,” the President said.

He said he must tread carefully before deciding what to do with Albayalde, noting that nothing had turned up directly linking the PNP chief to the ninja cop racket.

He said Año would study the case “very carefully.”

The President went on to say that he could not sack Albayalde just because there were claims that the PNP chief intervened to stop the dismissal of 13 policemen involved in the Pampanga drug operation.

“Just because he called up someone?” the President said, referring to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino, who confirmed at a Senate hearing last week that Albayalde phoned him to ask him not to implement an order for the dismissal of the officers.

“I could not do it in a knee jerk. There is a legal maxim that which we have to follow. Guilt is personal. That is the problem. That is why you have to hear before you condemn,” he said.

Vow to wipe out ninja cops

During his meeting with Filipinos in Moscow, the President vowed to deal harshly with policemen involved in the illegal drug trade.

“I have ninja [cops] now. When I get home I will take down these sons of bitches,” he said. “They are called ninja. These stupid people are really into drugs.”

The President said he had directed Año to investigate, and promised to “wipe out the sons of bitches” by the end of his term.

At a forum with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Jordanian King Abdullah II and the presidents of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in the resort city of Sochi on Thursday, President Duterte mentioned that two generals were “playing with drugs.”

In his talk with reporters on Saturday, Año said he had yet to talk with the President about the two generals.

The PNP said on Sunday that it was open to an investigation concerning the two generals.

Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, the PNP spokesperson, said in a statement that the PNP had no information about high-ranking officials involved in the narcotics trade.

The PNP, however, is “ready to face any hearing or investigation that will be conducted to shed light on reports that there are two police generals involved in illegal drugs,” Banac said.

In his talk with reporters on Sunday, the President clarified that the two officers were actually colonels, not generals.

“No generals, two colonels,” he said, explaining that ranks in the police were confusing.

“I am confused about that superintendent rank, because the only superintendent I know is school superintendent,” he said.

DOJ review

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is reviewing the ninja cop case that has clouded Albayalde’s record just weeks before he retires from the service.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Sunday that the DOJ, “in the interest of justice,” would reopen the case of Police Maj. Rodney Baloyo and 12 other policemen involved in the Pampanga operation.

Guevarra said a new panel of state prosecutors would be formed to conduct the review.

“Both sides will be given ample opportunity to present additional evidence,” Guevarra said.

The DOJ will try to resolve the case in a month’s time, he said, adding that the review has been pending since 2017.

Baloyo is detained in New Bilibid Prison, sent there last week by the Senate for lying to the inquiry headed by Gordon and giving evasive answers to the senators’ questions.

Baloyo was chief of the Pampanga police intelligence branch whose agents conducted the drug operation in Mexico town in November 2013 that netted 200 kilos of “shabu” (crystal meth), but turned over only 38 kilos.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, who had investigated the case when he was chief of police criminal investigation, told the Senate inquiry that Albayalde missed the red flags and later phoned Aquino to ask that an order for the dismissal of Baloyo and the other policemen not be implemented.

Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday expressed hope that Magalong’s testimony would add power to the PNP’s drive to cleanse its ranks of rogue officers.

“The challenge is [to] the leadership. How they will respond given this kind of evidence,” Robredo told reporters in Naga City.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Philippine Daily Inquirer
About the Author: The Philippine Daily Inquirer is one the country’s most credible and influential newspapers with over 500 awards and citations.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

We will never abandon people of occupied Kashmir, says Army chief during LoC visit

The army chief said that the Pakistan army will fulfil its role no matter the cost. Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa while visiting troops stationed along the Line of Control (LoC) on Wednesday vowed “to never leave Kashmiris alone” in their fight against Indian oppression. “Kashmiris in IOJ&K are bravely facing Indian atrocities under continued siege. We shall never leave them alone and play our rightful role at whatever cost”, said Gen Bajwa. Gen Bajwa’s remarks followed a briefing of the “deliberate targeting of civilians” by Indian troops and the response by Pakistan’s armed forces. A day earlier, at least three civilians died and eight others were injured in Azad Jammu and Kashmir after Indian troops resorted to “indiscri


By Dawn
October 17, 2019

Thai labourers face uncertainty over cost of production

The trade war has not left Thailand unaffected. The slowdown in global economy has dampened growth of the support industries in Thailand in its role as a part-producer for foreign investors, with all finished items shipped out to target countries or the parent companies. When investing companies add value to their products and sold at higher prices, Thai producers receive less profits, resulting in low wages for labourers. Production of industrial parts could be easily relocated to other countires, said Chalee Loysong, president of the Confederation of Electronic, Electrical Appliances, Auto and Metal Workers (TEAM). A clear sign of the move emerged when companies started to reduce costs through cutting down on the numbers of both full-time workers and those engaged in outsourced work, he said, adding that the latter are especially prompt to being discarded, given the absen


By The Nation (Thailand)
October 16, 2019

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters throng Hong Kong’s Chater Garden

The protests have escalated in violence and crackdowns in recent months. Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters gathered at Hong Kong’s Chater Garden in Central district near government headquarters on Monday evening (Oct 14) for the first approved rally since a face mask ban came into effect on Oct 5. The rally, which came a day after an improvised explosive device was detonated during unrest,  was called in support of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, a proposed US legislation aimed at reviewing the territory’s special trading status and potentially sanctioning some Chinese officials. Protesters urged


By The Straits Times
October 15, 2019

Nepal and China sign and exchange 20 agreements

Chinese President Xi Jinping returns after concluding his two-day state visit to Nepal. Nepal and China signed 18 memorandums of understanding and two letters of exchange on Sunday on the concluding day of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s two-day state visit. Officials from Nepal and China signed the agreements on various issues in the presence of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Xi on Sunday morning. The instruments are related to the partnership between government bodies including the ministries of home; foreign affairs; physical infrastructure and transport; agriculture and livestock development and industry, commerce and supply. Foreign ministers from Nepal and China as well as finance, home and foreign secretaries and secretaries at related ministries and the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yaunqi signed and exchanged the memorandums of understanding and lette


By The Kathmandu Post
October 14, 2019

HK on verge of chaos due to ‘One Country, Two Systems’, Taiwan rejects it: President Tsai

“The overwhelming consensus among Taiwan’s 23 million people is our rejection of ‘one country, two systems,’ regardless of party affiliation or political position,” the President said in her National Day address. President Tsai Ing-wen rejected the “one country, two systems” model proposed by Beijing as the future path of cross-Taiwan Strait relations during her National Day address to the nation on Thursday. “The overwhelming consensus among Taiwan’s 23 million people is our rejection of ‘one country, two systems,’ regardless of party affiliation or political position,” Tsai said at the Double Ten celebration, which commemorates the start of the Xinhai Revolution on Oct. 10, 1911 that led to the founding of the Republic of China. She said that there would be no space for the ROC’s existence if that framework were to be imposed in Taiwan, citing the violence in Hong Kong as an


By ANN Members
October 11, 2019

Xi’s South Asia trip set to boost regional links

Xi’s first overseas trip after the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China which begins on Friday is expected to boost regional interconnectivity and strengthen ties with India and Nepal. President Xi Jinping’s South Asia trip, which begins on Friday, will boost regional interconnectivity and strengthen China’s ties with India and Nepal, a senior diplomat said on Wednesday. Luo Zhaohui, vice-minister of foreign affairs, said at a news conference that Xi’s first overseas trip after the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China will greatly influence bilateral and regional relations. Xi was invited by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi an


By China Daily
October 10, 2019