Ombudsman questions Purisima’s availment of land under CARP
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has questioned the grant of land to dismissed Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima even though these were covered under the government’s agrarian reform program.
Morales questioned Purisima’s five lots of agricultural land in Aulo, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija placed under his sons’ names, one under his name, and two lots under his wife’s name, which were supposedly acquired under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
In his defense, Purisima said he has anticipated that their CARP applications to be denied because they fall short of the qualifications to apply for the CARP land.
Purisima said the Land Bank of the Philippines has yet to release the titles of these lots and that the purchase prices were not yet paid.
Purisima said he only had “good faith” in not declaring these lots in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities Networth (Saln) since he has not yet acquired the agricultural lands.
But Morales said Purisima’s claim of good faith does not hold water because the titles of the three lands were issued to Purisima and his wife in 2006, 2008, and 2009, and thus it is his obligation to declare these in his SALN.
“His argument that the purchase price of said properties is yet to be paid, and their disposal remains with the Land Bank of the Philippines, is of no moment since he could have conveniently indicated it as part of his liabilities,” Morales said.
Morales said it appears the Purisimas were awarded lots in Aulo, Palayan city even though these were covered under CARP, where according to Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law the qualified beneficiaries should be agricultural lessees and share tenants, farmworkers, actual tillers or occupants of public lands, collectives or cooperatives of the beneficiaries, and others directly working on the land.
Morales said the grant of CARP lands to Purisima is “irregular.”
“Said provision clearly states that the lands covered by the Caro shall be distributed as much as possible to landless residents of the same barangay, or in the absence thereof, landless residents of the same municipality,” Morales said.
“There being now showing that such above-mentioned persons or cooperatives failed to qualify as beneficiaries, and considering respondent Purisima’s financial status and professional qualifications, he and his family’s availment under the CARP law is highly irregular,” Morales added.
Morales thus ordered the Department of Agrarian Reform to “ascertain the circumstances of such availment.”
Morales made the findings about Purisima’s CARP lands as the Ombudsman ordered the filing of a petition for forfeiture to recover the alleged P29.2 million unexplained wealth allegedly accumulated by Purisima, his wife, and sons.
Case records showed that Purisima and his wife Maria Ramona combined lawful earnings amounted to P15,933,152.28 only, but Purisima and his family accumulated unexplained acquisitions amounting at least P29,292,459.92.
Purisima’s alleged unexplained wealth is under forfeiture as he faces a graft trial over the allegedly anomalous Werfast gun courier contract, as well as separate charges of graft and usurpation of powers for violating the police chain of command in the botched 2015 anti-terror raid in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that cost the lives of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) cops. JE