Digging a deep, deep grave

By: Manuel “Boy” Mejorada

IN CRIMINAL law, there is a maxim that denial is the weakest defense. When pitted against an overwhelming mountain of evidence, no amount of denial can convince a trial court about one’s innocence for a crime charged.

This is the situation that PNP General Oscar Albayalde is now facing.

From the time the glaring act of “agaw-bato” was staged by his men led by then P/Supt. Rodney Raymund Baloyo IV on November 29, 2013, Albayalde has done nothing but feign innocence. He backed up the version of Baloyo about conducting a buy-bust operation at around 4:30 p.m. at the Woodbridge Subdivision in Lakeshore, Mexico City. Albayalde did not explain how or why he didn’t detect the obvious gaps in Baloyo’s story.

During the last two weeks, Albayalde was on the hot seat before the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights chaired by Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon on the issue of the “ninja cops” stunt pulled by Baloyo and  his men. Again, Albayalde continued to issue denials and tried to spin stories to deflect the glaring truth being piled upon his men.

What Albayalde doesn’t realize is that he is just digging a deeper grave. Nobody is convinced about his innocence. Not having proof against his possible involvement in the ninja cop operations of his men is not important anymore. It’s enough that it’s been proven that Baloyo and his men staged a fake buy-bust, ran away with more than 160 kilos of shabu and around P55 million in cash. Their supposed accomplishment of apprehending 36 kilos of shabu was found to be a fabrication, and they violated every rule in the anti-illegal drugs laws.

His greatest sin was protecting his men from day one until recently when he assigned Baloyo to juicy positions. Clearly, he was covering up for the criminal acts of his men. And he went to the extent of asking for favors not to dismiss Baloyo from the service.

Albayalde should realize he is now damaged goods. His integrity has been crushed into powder. From one of the respected men and women in government, Albayalde has suddenly become the object of scorn and ridicule for millions of Filipinos, including fellow graduates of the Philippine Military Academy.

Honor and integrity are the highest values that graduates of the PMA embrace. In his zeal to clear his name, Albayalde has cast aside honor and integrity. He ascribed malice and ill motives to his fellow Cavaliers, notably former CIDG chief and now Baguio City mayor Benjamin Magalong for bringing up the ninja cops issue just a month before his retirement.

But why blame other people? Why can’t Albayalde accept responsibility and have the ax fall on his head? This guy is behaving as if his reputation and honor is more important than the PNP. Again, his guilt for being involved in the “agaw-bato” operations by his own most trusted men is not the main point. It was his conduct after the fake buy-bust and shabu recycling that betrayed his lack of honor and integrity.

I am definite that the Report to be filed by the Gordon committee will be scathing and condemnatory against Albayalde’s conduct unbecoming of an officer. Once that comes out, Albayalde will suffer what is tantamount to a public hanging. His name will go down in history as the man who sold his soul to the devil of illegal drugs.

Albayalde should just have resigned, and the damning evidence that came out from his former superiors in the PNP would have been kept buried. By choosing to fight it out and insist on his innocence, he has only succeeded in digging a deeper grave for himself.