The former chief police enforcer of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly campaign against drugs is to be charged with corruption for allegedly protecting officers linked to the narcotics trade, the Philippine Department of Justice said on Thursday.
Former Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde resigned in October last year after serving for more than a year, having presided over a crackdown on illegal narcotics that left thousands of drug suspects dead.
The episode that led to his sudden fall from grace cast an unwelcome light on a drug war that is immensely popular with the Philippine public, but which has faced international criticism over allegations that police were summarily executing suspects.
The department said that prosecutors found “probable cause” to charge Albayalde for not punishing officers accused of failing to account for 163kg of drugs and 9.7 million pesos (US$190,563) seized from a drug raid.
A department statement said that 13 other police officers would be charged with drug offenses, corruption and taking bribes for their role in the operation in Pampanga Province, north of Manila.
Albayalde has repeatedly denied having protected the officers or profiting from the seized drugs.
In a statement reacting to the indictment, Albayalde said that he welcomed the case as an opportunity to clear his name.
“Finally, I will have my day in court,” he added.
The charge leveled against him carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
The raid took place in November 2013, when Albayalde was Pampanga’s police chief.
Allegations of police graft and abuse are not rare in the Philippines, with Duterte twice ordering police to stop the anti-narcotics campaign because of allegations of corruption and murder by officers.
However, the Pampanga controversy went right to the top of the force.
Police last month said that they had killed 5,552 suspects in anti-drug operations since Duterte took office in June 2016.
Human rights groups have said that the real number is four times higher, and that the killings are a crime against humanity.
International Criminal Court prosecutors have launched a preliminary probe of the campaign, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has voted in favor of an in-depth review.
Critics have said that the campaign targets the poor and leaves the rich and powerful untouched, while reinforcing a culture of impunity.
There are growing concerns for the health of Rokia Traore, a Malian singer who has been on hunger strike at the Fleury-Merogis Prison near Paris since she was arrested on March 10 on allegations of kidnapping her daughter in a child custody dispute. “I am very worried,” said Kenneth Feliho, her lawyer. “She is only drinking. She has not been eating for over a week and her immune system is weak.” Among those calling for the musician’ release are African stars including Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour and Angelique Kidjo. Damon Albarn, who performed with her in the group Africa Express, wrote: “We demand,
FATAL IDEA: The nation’s drugs regulator is curbing use of hydroxychloroquine, which Donald Trump has promoted for its alleged potential to treat COVID-19 Australia’s drug regulator has been forced to restrict powers to prescribe a drug undergoing clinical trials to treat COVID-19, because doctors have been inappropriately prescribing it to themselves and their family members, despite potentially deadly side effects. The anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the similar compound chloroquine are currently used mostly for patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, but stocks in Australia have been diminished thanks to global publicity — including from US President Donald Trump — about the potential of the drug to treat COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have potentially severe and even deadly side effects if used inappropriately, including
Female flight attendants working for Japan Airlines would next month be allowed to wear trousers and abandon high heels, the company said on Thursday, after a feminist campaign took off. The airline became one of the first major Japanese firms to announce the shift after a campaign known as #KuToo last year rejected mandatory high heels at work, drawing more than 32,000 signatures in an online petition. The campaign is part of a wider feminism movement in Japan, with Japan Airlines saying that the new policy was aimed at boosting a “diverse working environment.” PANTS PERMIT “This will be the first time to introduce
TARGETED: Although hackers are known to be seeking to capitalize on concern over COVID-19, a cybersecurity expert said he had never seen anything to this extent before Elite hackers tried to break into the WHO earlier this month, sources said, part of what a senior agency official said was a more than two-fold increase in cyberattacks. The identity of the hackers was unclear and the effort was unsuccessful, WHO Chief Information Security Officer Flavio Aggio said. However, he warned that hacking attempts against the agency and its partners have soared as they battle to contain COVID-19, which has killed more than 15,000 worldwide. The attempted break-in at the WHO was first flagged to Reuters by Alexander Urbelis, a cybersecurity expert and attorney with the New York-based Blackstone Law Group,