Quit and spare Aquino, Lacson tells PNP chief Purisima
MANILA, Philippines—Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima should resign if he could not explain the graft allegations against him, which have adversely affected President Benigno Aquino III’s already descending popularity and the morale of police officers across the country.
“In his heart of hearts, he knows what the truth is. He should spare the President and gracefully resign if the allegations are true,” said Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson of his successor in Camp Crame, when reached by phone on Friday.
“All he has to do is to go see the President—he (President Aquino) has admitted that they are friends—and explain point by point the accusations. I am sure he would not lie to someone he is close to,” he said.
Lacson said the President’s loyalty to a friend could both be “a virtue and a weakness,” as he was known to “constantly defend his allies.”
Mr. Aquino met Purisima in 1987, when the latter was detailed as a Presidential Guard tasked to secure then President Corazon Aquino, the President’s mother.
Mr. Aquino, who was overseas when news about Purisima’s alleged hidden wealth surfaced, had defended his friend and said the embattled police chief was neither greedy nor into luxury.
“This would spare the President and the PNP from being dragged down. The President is being pressured to defend him,” said Lacson.
But if there was no truth to the allegations, Lacson said Purisima should explain himself.
“More than anything, it is the Chief PNP who should know whether the allegations against him are true or not. We can’t judge him,” said the former police chief.
“But he can’t escape the fact that there are charges and evidence against him. And this is already affecting the peace and order campaign. So if it’s not true, he should explain to the public through the media,” Lacson said.
The Coalition of Filipino Consumers, a consumer rights group, earlier filed charges of plunder, graft and indirect bribery against Purisima for his alleged unexplained wealth, including a Nueva Ecija mansion and the P25-million construction of the police commander’s “White House” at the PNP headquarters.
Purisima, known to still be on official travel, earlier failed to appear before a Senate inquiry. Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public order, has called on the PNP chief to take a leave amid the investigation.
Still in touch with current PNP officials, Lacson noted how “nobody” among those he has spoken to has given a categorical denial of the charges against Purisima.
“Some told me they do not know if the charges are true. Some said the allegations are true. But nobody is saying that nothing like that happened,” said Lacson.
But his contacts were sure of one thing, said Lacson.
“They are telling me that the peace and order campaign is already affected, because it’s like the PNP is under siege,” he said.
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