'Who is the new PNP chief?' and other unanswered questions
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III again faced the nation on Friday night, February 6. Aquino announced he accepted the resignation of his close friend, suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima. (READ: FULL TEXT: Mamasapano tragedy will never happen again)
However, it was not clear why Purisima resigned or who would replace him. This and other questions were not answered. Journalists, bloggers, and other netizens reacted after Aquino’s speech.
@natashya_g Still not convinced. Too many questions remain unanswered. The wound's too deep and cannot be consoled by mere resignation.— C^RLO C. PAGUIO (@carlopaguio_) February 6, 2015
Rappler’s managing editor Glenda Gloria asked in a Twitter post:
So who's the new PNP chief? He should have answered that too today. Unless there was deadlock again between his two fave Cab secs— Glenda Gloria (@glendamgloria) February 6, 2015
For blogger Noemi Lardizabal-Dado and Twitter user Lhoi Cruz, Aquino should have also cited his grounds for accepting Purisima’s resignation. In a Twitter discussion following Aquino's message, they said:
nothing great. Made an attempt to show he is responsible by saying “ama ng bayan” but No explanation why Purisima resigned @VoltaireTupaz— Noem Lardizabal-Dado (@momblogger) February 6, 2015
This question is important because Purisima is under fire for ordering the operation to be kept secret from other concerned authorities, until it was too late. (READ: Resigned? Relieved? The Purisima dilemma)
Purisima, who is facing graft charges, reportedly gave the go-signal for the operation of the PNP-Special Action Force (SAF) aimed at two high-value targets, top terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir, better known as "Marwan", and Filipino Jemaah Islamiya commander Abdul Basit Usman. (READ: Marwan’s ties that bind: Aljebir Adzhar aka Embel and Ren-Ren Dongon)
A netizen asked about the legal implications of Purisima’s resignation.
Under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, a person facing a corruption case cannot resign until his case is resolved.
Note that "resignation" brings up some legal questions. Someone facing graft charges can only be relieved. Read: http://t.co/ROVcZ8HPIh— Natashya Gutierrez (@natashya_g) February 6, 2015
Rappler reporter Bea Cupin, who covers the PNP, the organization rocked by the tragic incident, commented:
Still no explanation/denial. Did (now sacked/resigned) PNP chief Alan Purisima command the Jan 25 Mamasapano encounter? If he did,why?— Bea Cupin (@beacupin) February 6, 2015
However, in an interview with GMA News, the embattled Purisima denied he commanded the operation that led to the death of 44 elite troopers. But this did not convince some netizens:
PNoy and Purisima say they are so loyal to each other but Purisima cannot remember when the last time they spoke or met was? #PNPcrisis— Xavier S. Padilla (@xavyniceday) February 6, 2015
Purisima echoed Aquino in calling out the ground commander, sacked SAF commander Getulio Napeñas Jr, for the botched operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
In his address, Aquino said: “The commander of the operation should have been aware of this, especially since he has long been assigned to Mindanao. Situational awareness is demanded of him.”
The President vaguely revealed there were at least 3 instances when Napeñas could have aborted the operation.
For others, what was made clear and highlighted in Aquino’s address was his close friendship with Purisima, quipping that they are "BFFs" (best friends forever):
It does show that he is very close to Purisima, este….Alan. So my Q: What is reason for accepting his resignation? We need to know. #NANA— philippinebeat (@philippinebeat) February 6, 2015
Now the underside of the speech is you truly gave Purisma his shining moment as your friend. I hope he is also made accountable for #SAF44— Malou Tiquia (@maltiq) February 6, 2015
#NANA PNoy speech sharpened to (1) evade command responsibility, (2) honor Purisima as a friend, (3) blame SAF commander for the mess.— Tonyo Cruz (@tonyocruz) February 6, 2015
In accepting Purisima’s resignation, Aquino said it was “painful to see him leave the service under these circumstances.”
Aquino claimed he remains clueless about the “whole truth behind the incident.”
Aquino himself said that he has "questions that plague" his mind like the public that has found his empathy and sincerity wanting.
Aquino's national address on the #PNPCrisis is over! What are your thoughts on his speech?— MovePH (@MovePH) February 6, 2015
Aquino asked: “How and why did it happen that there was no coordination? Why did the mission continue, when it had deviated so far from the original plan, and our troops were already in grave danger?
Using the hashtag, continue the online conversation, answering how you think Aquino should address the #PNPcrisis. – Rappler.com