DOJ finds “probable cause” to file criminal charges vs Albalyalde before Ombudsman for 2013 Pampanga drug raid

At least five criminal charges to be filed vs Baloyo, 11 other policemen

(File photo) Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde is seen here attending a Department of Justice hearing on the reinvetigation of the highly irregular 2013 drug raid in Mexico, Pampanga. (Eagle News Service)

(Eagle News) – The Department of Justice has found probable cause to file graft and corruption charges against former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde for his role in directing and influencing police officers in the 2013 controversial and highly irregular Mexico, Pampanga drug raid

In a 104-page resolution after the DOJ re-investigation, the Panel of prosecutors said that Albayalde will be charged with violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for “persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations in connection with the official duties” and “for causing undue injury” to the government.

Aside from Albayalde, the DOJ panel also found probable cause to file several criminal charges against P/Supt. Rodney Raymundo Baloyo and 11 others for their roles in the highly irregular drug raid, including the misappropriation and failure to account for the confiscated drugs, planting of evidence, delay and bungling in the prosecution of drugs, and qualified bribery.

The DOJ Panel said it anchored its findings against Albayalde for his failure to implement an order that originally sought to penalize the police officers led by Baloyo for their role in the questionalble drug operations in 2013 when he was the Pampanga police director.

-Misappropriation of drugs, planting of evidence, bungling of drug cases –

Rodney Baloyo swears by his rejoinder-affidavit on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019/Moira Encina/Eagle News/

The other police officers along with Baloyo who will be charged criminally for their roles in the 2013 Pampanga drug raid are P/Insp. Joven Bagnot de Guzman, Jr; SPO1 Jules Lacap Maniago; SPO1 Donald Castro Roque; SPO1 Ronald Bayas Santos; SPO1 Rommel Muñoz Vital; SPO1 Alcindor Mangiduyos Tinio; PO3 Dindo Dizon; PO3 Gilbert Angeles De Vera; PO3 Romeo Guerrero, Jr; SPO1 Eligio Dayo Valeroso; and SPO1 Dante Mercado Dizon, among others.

They will be charged for the following offenses: misappropriation, misapplication or failure to account for the confiscated or seized drugs, planting of evidence, and delay and bungling in the prosecution of drug cases, all penalized under Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act; qualified bribery under the Revised Penal Code; and causing undue injury to any party, including the government, defined and penalized under Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019.

The DOJ panel said that Baloyo and his men “misappropriated drugs” when they declared that only 36.60 kilos of shabu in their operations in Mexico, Pampanga in 2013 when the actual amount of shabu seized based on subsequent police investigation was actually about 200 kilos.

“The group likewise declared that the case they obtained from the operation to be only P300,000 while contrary evidence indicated that said amount reached P10 milion,” the DOJ release on the panel’s resolution said.

It said that the DOJ panel based this finding on the declaration contained in the affidavit of direct participation of Police Senior Insp. De Guzman and nine other respondents.

The DOJ said that some of the respondents also failed to declare and account for a Toyota Fortuner that was seized in the 2013 police operations.

The DOJ panel also noted that Baloyo’s group illegally arrested one Ding Wenkun instead of Johnson Lee from whom they seized the drugs.

The police officers then “imputed upon Wenkun the crime of illegal sale and possession of dangerous drugs despite their knowledge that it was Lee who should be charged” for the offense.

This led to the eventual dismissal of the case against Wenkun in court.

The DOJ panel also recommended the filing of an information for violating regulations issued by the Dangerous Drugs Board regarding chain of custody of evidence against PO3 Guerrero and SPO1 Santos.

Charges for falsification by a public officer will also be filed against Baloyo for making false statements in his Spot and Progress reports regarding the police operation, and for false testimony and perjury against SPO1 Santos and PO3 Guerrero Jr who made untruthful statements in their affidavit of arrest against Wenkun.

The findings against Albayalde will be endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman which has exclusive jurisdiction over crimes to be tried before the Sandiganbayan, since he was a public officer at the commission of the offense, being then the Pampanga police director

The Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the criminal cases of police officers with the position of police director, or those with the rank of senior superintendent and higher.

The DOJ Panel was tasked by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra in October last year to conduct a reinvestigation of the case after the original complaint filed against Baloyo and his group was dismissed by the then investigating prosecutor for insufficiency of evidence.

The panel which reinvestigated the case relied on additional evidence presented by the various parties and their witnesses, as well as the report on the Senate investigation led by Senator Richard Gordon.