Purisima breaks silence, explains resignation
Suspended Police Director General Alan Purisima finally broke his silence on Friday after quitting his post as chief of the Philippine National Police, and denied that he gave orders during the police operation of the Special Action Force (SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, on Jan. 25.
Forty-four SAF troopers were killed in a clash with Moro rebels during their pursuit of two high-profile terrorists.
Purisima said he finally turned in his resignation so that President Aquino “may have more room to act.”
“Now that our President has made his decision, the PNP can now continue to focus on its mandate and mission to serve and protect the Filipino people … I trust that the reforms I have initiated will continue to make a lasting impact in improving the character of our national police force,” he said.
In an interview aired on GMA 7, Purisima said he was on preventive suspension during the Maguindanao operations and that while he gave the intelligence packet, he did not give any orders to the troops. “That is the role of the ground commander,” he said.
Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, who took over the PNP as its officer in charge, claimed he was kept out of the loop on the SAF’s operation and learned about it only after shots were fired on the morning of Jan.25.
Asked if he had instructed SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas not to inform Espina about the operation until the troops were in the area, Purisima said: “These are situations that are part of their plan until they reach the target. The others will be informed once they reach the target.”
It was the SAF which planned the operation, and he did not give any order to keep Espina in the dark, the resigned police chief said.
Purisima also denied being in Zamboanga City with President Benigno Aquino III during the clash between the SAF and the Moro rebels and said he was a guest speaker at the installation of Gen. Mariano Llanera Memorial Lodge No. 168 in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija. The former PNP chief is the grand master of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines.
Purisima promised to attend next week’s Senate hearings on the Mamasapano incident to divulge all he knew of the operation, although he declined to comment on the supposed role of the United States in the SAF operation, saying these are classified matters.
The former PNP chief’s resignation ended his three decades of service in law enforcement marked by allegations of plunder for which he was put on preventive suspension in December last year.
Purisima, who was supposed to retire from the PNP on November 21, 2015 when he turns 56, said he will “take care of (his) grandchildren, go back to the province and do some farming, take in some fresh air.”
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said President Aquino did what was right as the father of the nation.
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