Institution above self

October 12, 2019

BELEAGUERED  PNP chief, General Oscar Albayalde’s decision to retire ahead of his 56th birthday this coming November 8 has earned him praises from his supporters and critics who have told me the move means our top cop really values the word ‘institution above self.’

Many Peemayers have told me that during the past two Senate inquiries where the shenanigans committed by Albayalde’s former intelligence officers from the Pampanga Police Provincial Office was exposed, the magic word they wanted to hear from the PNP chief is ‘I’m sorry.’

However, the PNP chief had insisted he had nothing to do with the infamous anti-narcotics raid and even claimed politics had something to do with the charges hurled against him and even accused that police generals who previously worked with the former Aquino administration were ganging up on him.

Those watching from the sidelines told me that the Senate exposes really have saddened and demoralized the police force and worse, exposed dark secrets involving rogue anti-narcotics officers which should be immediately corrected thru institutional measures.

As I have written before, it seemed to me that only a very few officials came to support the embattled police chief with majority not daring to make any move to publicly support Gen. Albayalde, for obvious reasons they don’t want to be associated anymore with the latter and not be in the good graces of the next Chief.

Since Gen. Albayalde had made public his intention to retire ahead of his actual retirement date, I think it is time for the rest of the PNP to thank and support the PNP chief’s decision which will really save the national police force from further embarrassment.

Admit it or not, the Senate expose had revealed never heard stories on anti-drug operations. Since the defunct Narcotics Command days up to now, I have heard countless incidents of illegal raids, misdeclaration of seized stuff, recycling, ‘lipat-bahay,’ extortion and other illegal activities. However, this is the first time I have heard of an incident of ‘switching of suspect,’ in particular a drug lord being set free for money and the arresting officers grabbing another man and presenting him to the press as the main culprit.

My prayers for Gen. Albayalde and his family who obviously is suffering the most as a result of the expose.  I have known Albayalde for quite a long time . He  is actually a teammate at the PNP Executive Basketball team and I really believe in his competence and integrity.

The sad truth however is that his very good service reputation was tainted by the 2013 Pampanga raid.  The fact will remain that after leading the National Capital Region Police Office and later the PNP to greater heights for more than three years, he will go down in history as a PNP chief whose last days truly became a bitter one.

What a sad ending for a PNP Chief who led the PNP to greater heights over the past 17 months where the public felt a significant reduction in crime and had expressed its appreciation to the police thru various surveys and whose 21-month very good stint as Metro Manila police director catapulted him to the top PNP post as the word ‘General Albayalde’ really became a household name in the country during the early days of the Duterte administration.

As former PNP chief-turned Senator Ping Lacson had said, no one can force Gen. Albayalde to resign since it should be the latter’s ‘personal decision.  However, I will again quote retired Gen. Arturo ‘Art’ Lomibao, a PNP chief from March 2005 to July 2006 who had said that the best thing for Albayalde to do right now is to ‘resign and save the PNP.’

Although Gen. Albayalde had rejected calls for him to resign claiming the charges against him smacked of politics and the handiwork of former Aquino boys in the PNP,  Gen. Lomibao said he wants Albayalde to resign and leave the PNP with his head up high.

Lomibao said he remembers Albayalde coming to his farm and spending time with common friends on several occasions in Pampanga when he was already relieved as Central Luzon police director by then President Joseph Estrada. He said that his impression of Albayalde is that he is a ‘low-key but upright officer.’

“Thus, it pains me to see  these 2 fine gentlemen pitted against each other. But there are higher interests to protect and rules to follow so it is unavoidable that  they face the music,” Lomibao said in referring to Gen. Lomibao and former CIDG chief, now Baguio City Mayor Benjie Magalong.

“My advice to Chief Oca (Pls don’t get me wrong). You are about to retire. You are now a part of history. Just like me, I’m sure you want to leave the PNP and be remembered as a CPNP with a reputation intact.

“You are known to be a strict disciplinarian. In fact that’s your comparative advantage, that’s why the President chose you to lead the force even if you are not close to him.  Retire with that service reputation, that  kind of brand because that will be your legacy.”

“Be sensitive to public perception. I suggest that you reinvestigate the said case and leave no stone unturned this time. I’m  aware na bata mo si Major Baluyo and no one can fault you for that. Lahat naman tayo may bata nuon. But let’s be consistent, fair and truthful. Let’s not back them up, or protect our bata if they go against the law.”

“And when you are finally done with your investigation and came out with the truth, it’s time to quit, even if it’s one day before retirement. Show everyone that you are willing to sacrifice for  the institution you are about to leave, so that hopefully, this will give a clear signal to those you will leave behind. Learn from the PMA Superintendent. He sacrificed his position to save the PMA. Save the PNP,” Lomibao ended.