IN PHOTOS: Inside the PNP chief's 'ordinary home' in Nueva Ecija
NUEVA ECIJA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima on Monday, October 6, opened his controversial property in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija, to members of the media amid allegations that this particular house and lot was under-declared in his latest Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).
The same property is the centerpiece of a series of TV reports and later, the basis of one of 3 graft and plunder complaints against the PNP chief.
The tour came 4 days after Purisima, during a press conference, said he was willing to invite media over so they could see the property for themselves.
The verdict: It is neither a "mansion nor a villa," as he previously pointed out, but in no way was it an “ordinary home,” as he also claimed – especially if you think about how most Filipinos are unable to afford their own homes, much less an extra “rest house.”
The journey from Camp Crame in Quezon City to the San Leonardo house takes around 3 hours.
Escorted by members of the PNP’s Special Action Force (SAF) and later, San Leonardo police, at least 14 media vehicles entered the PNP chief’s 4.7 hectare property.
Within it, there’s a 300,000-square-meter gated portion where the 204-square-meter house is found.
Beside the 5-bedroom house is a 4-bedroom guest house with a minibar on the ground floor that faces a now-unkempt 7.5-by-15-meter pool. In front of the pool is a “gazebo” made of old tree branches and nipa.
Surrounding the gazebo are wooden benches and a small, concrete bridge built over an unkempt lagoon.
The interiors of the house weren’t extravagant by upper-to-middle-class standards. Each bedroom had its own airconditioning unit, and only the master’s bedroom has its own bathroom.
Inside and outside the rooms were pretty bare – not many appliances or electronics to speak of, except for a refrigerator, a small LCD television, and burners for the “public kitchen.”
As reporters made their way around the house, Purisima's friends and relatives asked them to knock on the wall, and "inspect" the materials used.
"See for yourself if it's a mansion or not," they said.
Framing the kitchen is the family’s collection of wine and liquor – a bottle or two of Johnny Walker Blue Label and Glenlivet Single Malt scotch.
Deeper inside the house, the “dirty kitchen” was airy and breezy. A lone housekeeper stood watch while members of media shuffled in and out.
The only evidence of life in any of the rooms was a pair of basketball shoes left behind by one of Purisima’s 4 sons. Purisima’s relatives and friends who accompanied media to the house said the PNP chief used to frequent the home, but has been unable to visit recently.
The unkempt swimming pool and lagoons were glaring reminders of its owner’s absence.
Two of Purisima’s kin – two distant relatives who also happened to be lawyers – said it was only their second time to visit the property.
Neither of them could tell media how often Purisima visited the Nueva Ecija property or who the PNP chief has entertained in the house.
Although the PNP chief himself was not there during the media visit, his relatives – picked to represent Purisima via “raffle,” they said – joined the fray in defending the embattled PNP chief.
“Sa ating paghusga sa bahay na ito, tingnan po natin kung ito po ay matatawag na mansiyon. P'wede po ba nating ihanay ang bahay na ito sa mga bahay sa Forbes Park, sa Dasmariñas, sa Urdaneta, Magallanes, sa Corinthian, sa Greenmeadows, sa Greenhills?” Tito Purisima, who identified himself as distant cousin of the PNP chief, said before touring reporters around the house.
(When we judge this house, let’s see if it can really be called a mansion. Is it comparable to the houses you can find in posh Metro Manila villages?)
Tito Purisima, however, declined to answer questions from the media because he was “not authorized” to speak in behalf of the PNP chief.
The Nueva Ecija property isn’t Purisima’s only property being put into question. (READ: Contractors funded PNP chief's Crame residence)
Purisima has since denied owning a bulletproof SUV he was seen using after a Senate hearing. According to Purisima, it was lent by his friends who understood the kind of threats a PNP chief faces on a daily basis.
The SUV isn’t the only time Purisima’s friends have shown their generosity.
Contractor friends also supposedly funded the construction of a new “White House” inside Camp Crame. The new, P12-million “White House” is the official residence of the PNP chief.
Purisima has been mum about the donated “White House” before the media. In a Thursday press conference, reporters were given instructions not to ask questions about the other controversial house.
"By inviting the media, it is my hope that some questions related to my property would be put to rest," Purisima said of the visit, through a statement from the PNP's Public Information Office. – Rappler.com