Purisima told: Resign from PNP now
MANILA, Philippines – It’s time for Alan Purisima to go, according to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
“Purisima ought to resign” from the service, Belmonte said in a text message Monday, in reaction to Aquino’s remarks about the disgraced former Director General of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
BACKSTORY: Aquino: Purisima let me down
Aquino accepted Purisima’s resignation as PNP chief on Feb. 6 amid the fallout over “Oplan Exodus,” which led to the deaths of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos, 17 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters, and five civilians, in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on Jan. 25.
Although resigned, Purisima remains in the service with a four-star police general rank. Under the law, only one PNP official may hold that rank. No new PNP chief has been installed to his post in spite of reports that the President recently met with candidates.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano agreed with Belmonte in his assessment, saying Purisima “should long be discharged or resigned for the good of the PNP organization and the country as a whole.”
Probes have revealed that Purisima, who was under suspension at the time of the Mamasapano operations, ordered or advised the then SAF commander, Getulio Napeñas, to keep the PNP officer-in-charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, out of the loop about the operation.
On Saturday, the President said he directly ordered Purisima at a meeting on Jan. 9 to coordinate with Espina upon learning that the latter knew nothing about what was going on.
“I told Alan that it has come to my attention that Dindo Espina does not know and he is not [in] the loop and you tell him, tell him everything, to which I believe there was an acquiescence,” he recalled.
“I would not have let him go had he said, ‘Sir, he should not know.’ I would not agree to that. Now [on Jan.] 25, that was when I found out that that was also another order that was not carried out,” Aquino said.
The failure to coordinate with key officials has been identified as one of the factors that led to the bloody end of Oplan Exodus, a counterterrorism operation to capture two international terrorists, including the Malaysian bomb-maker Zulkifli bin Hir, who was killed.
The other target, Filipino Basit Usman, escaped.
Alejano said Aquino should privately sanction the former SAF commander Napeñas for the latter’s shortcomings in directing Oplan Exodus.
“He should not, however, berate or blame Napeñas in public, which affects the morale of the PNP SAF, and questions the kind of leadership [the President] has… By now [Aquino] should provide and inspire Filipinos to move forward,” he added.
Aquino’s other allies in the House of Representatives said removing Purisima or compelling him to resign from the service should be done legally.
“Still it should go through due process,” said Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, the Liberal Party’s political affairs chair.
Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said: “Let the law take its course.”
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