Grace Poe chides no-show PNP chief at Senate hearing
MANILA, Philippines – A calm but visibly peeved Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday, September 16, chided the country’s top cop for again failing to appear before a Senate hearing on the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Police officials at the hearing said PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima could not to attend the hearing because of prior commitments, to which Poe said, “[But] we sent this [invitation] letter two weeks ago and we received word that he would attend.”
PNP Acting Director for Plans Chief Superintendent Alexander Ignacio said it was the PNP’s understanding that only the proposed PNP modernization and reorganization bills would be discussed.
Poe cited the importance of Purisima's participation at the hearing, since the issue of rising criminality would be taken up.
“I don’t think it takes an expert to understand that what will be discussed today would be criminality,” the senator shot back.
The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs committee chaired by Poe on Tuesday, heard two bills proposing the reorganization of the PNP, and resolutions on the “increased” criminality in the country. (READ: PNP scalawags and squabbles)
“The issue is not just criminality but that the PNP itself is involved in the crime,” said Poe. (READ: Prevent bad cops? Open a PNP school)
Poe lamented Purisima’s refusal to appear during past Senate hearings. “We are not condemning the entire organization. But we were hoping that its father would come here to defend it,” said the senator.
Viral crimes and rogue cops
The PNP and Purisima have been in hot water recently over a string of high-profile crimes, some allegedly involving cops themselves. The latest incident involves a suspected EDSA robbery and kidnapping case that went viral on social media.
Police officials later revealed at least 8 cops were allegedly involved in the incident. It was later revealed that two of the La Loma police station cops involved in the incident had pending cases for the same modus before the National Police Commission (Napolcom).
Purisima and other top police generals have asked the public not to judge the entire PNP for the acts of a few. President Benigno Aquino III, in defending Purisima, emphasized that things were different this time. After all, cops were chasing after other rogue cops. (READ: Can the PNP still be trusted? 'Remember Zamboanga')
“Totoong may scalawag, pero sino po ba ang nakahuli sa mga nang-hulidap sa EDSA? Mga pulis din po. Sa pamumuno ni General Purisima, ang nag-imbestiga, tumugis, at nakadakip sa mga salarin na ngayon ay kinasuhan na, kapwa po nila pulis,” Aquino said in a recent speech.
(It's true there are rogue cops, but who caught those that extorted in EDSA? They were policemen, too. Under the leadership of General Purisima, it was fellow policemen who investigated, pursued, caught, and filed a case against them).
But Poe, in her opening remarks, said this was not the meat of the matter. “Kung hindi kumalat sa social media, malamang 'yung gumawa noon ay magpapatuloy sa kanilang kabalbalan,” she said. (If it didn’t go viral on social media, it’s likely the culprits would continue.) (READ: Getting rid of the PNP’s scalawags)
“The PNP operates on a mandate of truth. It’s relevant only as long as there is trust,” said Poe. – Rappler.com