Purisima denies lying to Aquino
MANILA, Philippines—Resigned Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima slammed Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, PNP officer in charge Leonardo Espina and sacked Special Action Force (SAF) Getulio Napeñas for inconsistencies in their accounts of the Mamasapano clash and absolved himself of any wrongdoing in the disastrous police counterterrorism operation.
“I never misrepresented or falsely represented myself to be Chief, PNP—either to Napeñas or to any other person involved in ‘Operation Exodus’, neither did I perform, under the pretense of official position, any act pertaining to any person in authority or public officer,” he said.
Purisima also said that while he delegated authority to Napeñas, he did not delegate the accountability for the mission and thus, he said he was assuming responsibility for the mission.
Purisima gave a narration of his role in Operation Exodus on the eve of the release of the report of the PNP’s board of inquiry. He denied lying to President Aquino in a position paper he submitted to Sen. Grace Poe, head of the committee on public order that led the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano debacle.
In the 13-page position paper released by Poe’s office on Thursday night, Purisima said he did not take charge of the SAF operation because he was already suspended, as ordered by the Ombudsman last December.
“My direct participation in Operation Exodus ended with the implementation of my preventive suspension. I categorically deny giving any orders to any PNP official or personnel regarding Operation Exodus during my preventive suspension. I did not even know when the PNP SAF would launch Operation Exodus,” he said.
Under PNP procedures, he said, ground commanders are responsible for the implementation of operations.
Purisima explained that he delegated authority on the operations against Malaysian bomb expert Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” and the Malaysian terrorist’s Filipino deputy, Basit Usman, to Napeñas in April 2014, when he approved the operation.
He cited Section 26 of Republic Act No. 6795 under which the PNP chief could delegate his power of “command and direction” to “subordinate officials with respect to the units under their respective commands.”
“Once the Chief, PNP delegates his authority to a force or unit commander, that commander assumes control and supervision over that mission. After which, the force or unit commander may inform other officers consistent with operational security,” he said, adding this was in line with Rule 4 of the PNP Operational Procedures.
‘Time on target’
Purisima said it was these principles of administrative control, operational supervision and command responsibility within the PNP that explain why Napeñas informed Espina about the operation “time on target.”
Time on target means informing other security agencies about the operation once the mission has commenced.
There was also no need to inform Roxas about the operations, Purisima said, noting that the interior secretary is “not part of the PNP command line” because under the law, the PNP is under the administrative control and operational supervision of the National Police Commission.
Purisima also pointed out that the record will show Espina did not complain when he was first informed by Napeñas about the operation and that Espina even congratulated Napeñas for the operation against Marwan.
“It was only after he learned about the casualties that he began to claim that he did not know about the mission,” Purisima said.
Roxas, he said, also did not complain in his text message to the President about any lack of information about the operation, but “made an issue about his supposed lack of knowledge after he learned about the casualties.”
Purisima said Napeñas told the Senate on Feb. 9 that Roxas and Espina were present in one of the mission briefings contrary to what Roxas told the Jan. 26 conference in Awang, Cotabato province, that he was not aware of the mission or attempts to get Marwan.
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