PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde

Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde’s reputation has been tarnished whether or not he resigns over the “ninja cops” drug-recycling controversy, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said on Wednesday.

A Senate investigation has established that in 2013, Albayalde, then Metro Manila police chief, called up Aaron Aquino, then chief of Central Luzon police (now head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency), to review the dismissal of police involved in a questionable anti-drug operation in Pampanga.

In September, ex-police official Benjamin Magalong, now Baguio City mayor, had revealed the names of “ninja cops” involved in drug recycling to senators in a closed-door session.

Drilon noted that Albayalde had only a month left before retirement.

“Whatever happens, indeed, his stint as PNP chief is tarnished by this revelation. It’s a very serious allegation. Given the tokhang (anti-drug) campaign, which has killed thousands of people and supposedly drug dealers, the drug campaign loses its credibility when you hear of these allegations between high-ranking officials of the PNP,” he told reporters.

Drilon called on the justice department to take “firmer action” as there was a “very serious case of violation” of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

“Whether it was 30 kilograms (kgs.) or 200 kgs, that constitutes a serious offense, which can merit a non-bailable violation of the law,” he said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III declined to comment when asked who among Albayalde and Magalong was more credible.

“That’s for the courts to decide, or even the Napolcom (National Police Commission). I would rather not comment or give my personal assessment,” he said. (