Gen. Oscar Albayalde, the Philippine National Police chief, talks to his troops during Monday morning’s flag-raising rites, where he announced that he would go on non-active status. PNP PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde is still criminally liable in connection with the “ninja cops” issue even after going on non-duty status (NDS) ahead of his retirement, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said on Monday.

“His continued stay as PNP chief has become untenable. His resignation ahead of his mandatory retirement, however, will not in any way clear him from his liability, both administratively or criminally, in connection with the Pampanga ninja cops issue,” Drilon said in a statement.

Albayalde stepped down as PNP chief on Monday following controversy over his involvement in a 2013 drug raid in which police were found to have profited from pilfered illegal drugs.

The former justice secretary lamented “Albayalde’s lack of sense of justice” for failing to, at the very least, condemn the illegal acts committed by his men.

Worse, he said, the former PNP chief might have had a hand in the cover-up of the 2013 operation by asking his superiors not to implement the dismissal of the so-called “ninja cops,” he said.

“After careful thought and deliberation, I have come to the decision to relinquish my post as Chief, PNP effective today and go on non-duty status. I have submitted my letter of intent to (Interior and Local Government) Secretary Eduardo Año which he accepted and favorably endorsed to the president,” said Albayalde following the PNP flag ceremony.

Albayalde will reach mandatory retirement as he celebrates his 56th birthday early next month. He said his departure from active service would give President Duterte the leeway to choose a successor.

Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said the NDS was a privilege and a voluntary move, in accordance with the National Police Commission guidelines.

“We wish General Albayalde all the best in his future undertakings as we express our sincere gratitude to the former PNP Chief for his services to this Administration, the nation and to the people,” he said in a statement.

Police Lt. Gen. Francisco Archie Gamboa, the deputy chief for administration, is the PNP officer-in-charge.

Gamboa vowed to stay focused on the PNP’s campaign against criminality, illegal drugs and corruption. (, Melo M. Acuña)