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Purisima nixes peek into phone records

/ 05:59 AM March 08, 2015
Purisima (3)

Former PNP chief Alan Purisima
INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA

MANILA, Philippines—Resigned Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima has declined to sign a waiver authorizing telecom firm Smart Communications to release the log of telephone numbers he was in touch with on the day of the Mamasapano incident, according to Sen. Grace Poe.

Since Smart has said it would be unable to provide the Senate with copies of Purisima’s messages because it does not store its subscribers’ texts, Poe had asked if it could provide the cell phone numbers with which he had exchanged messages.

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Smart told Poe that a waiver from the subscriber was necessary.

Purisima, however, refused to provide a waiver when her committee got in touch with him, the senator said.

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“We called up General Purisima. He did not want to give a waiver,” Poe said in an interview over RMN Cebu yesterday.

“That’s the problem. Because he said his privacy was not the only thing concerned but that of the President who has executive privilege.”

It would have sent a better message if Purisima just signed the waiver, she added.

“If I were General Purisima—if he wants to help the President and the President sent him no other text messages—he should bring these out,” Poe said.

She acknowledged that Purisima’s reluctance to sign a waiver might create doubt in people’s minds.

Purisima, in a Senate hearing, released a transcript of his text exchange with the President on the Mamsapano incident.

Still Poe’s committee on public order wanted copies of the text messages in order to verify them. Smart, however, replied that its system did not store the contents of text messages, only their dates and the contacts’ numbers.

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The committee has cross-checked the text messages submitted by Purisima with those submitted by sacked Special Action Force (SAF) chief Director Getulio Napeñas, and found that they matched.

The Senate probe, as well as others being conducted by other groups, is homing in on the questions of what President Aquino knew about the operation and when he knew it.

Some senators have said that based on his text exchange with Purisima, it appeared the President was given wrong information about the Mamasapano operation, particularly about military assistance being on the way to the police commandos who were set upon by Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters guerrillas.

After the fire fight, 44 SAF commandos, 18 MILF guerrillas and five civilians lay dead.

The Poe committee report on the Mamasapano incident is expected out in the third week of March.

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TAGS: Alan Purisima, Grace Poe, Mamasapano incident, Philippine National Police, Smart communications
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