PNP chief wants suspension order stopped

Bea Cupin
PNP chief wants suspension order stopped
Who replaces Purisima? The OIC is on board only until December 9. Camp Crame says it will have to wait Malacañang or the DILG’s word on the matter

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima will be seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) on his preventive suspension that was ordered by the Office of the Ombudsman.

PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor said on Monday, December 8, that the petition will be handled by Purisima’s personal lawyers and not by a legal team from the PNP.

Mayor did not say when Purisima would be filing the appeal. 

While in Saudi Arabia for an official trip, Purisima was ordered suspended for 6 months by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales over an allegedly shady deal between the PNP’s Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) and Werfast Documentation Agency Incorporated.

Mayor said Purisima would be filing the petition for a TRO before the Court of Appeals, but said he was not privy to how Purisima’s legal team would justify the TRO appeal.

Purisima, Bacolod, Werdast 

Gun owners this year complained that Werfast’s services were bad or non-existent.

The company also allegedly charged higher than most courier services, and only supposedly acted as a “middle man” between the FEO and LBC, another courier service. (READ: Firm identified with PNP chief ends deal)

In a statement released Sunday, December 7, Purisima maintained he had nothing to do with the deal, as he was not PNP chief when it was made. He said he was confident the Ombudsman’s findings would eventually “vindicate” him. 

Purisima was the chief of directorial staff of the Civil Security Group (CSG) when the deal with Werfast was inked around 3 years ago. The FEO is directly under the CSG.

“What I approved was only the mandatory delivery of firearms license cards of gun owners to their registered addresses. I did not approve the delivery of firearms license cards by a specific service provider,” said Purisima.

Shortly after the controversy made the news, the PNP cut its deal with Werfast.

Former police general Ireno Bacolod, who was dragged into the controversial deal, earlier denied any links to Werfast even if he is listed as its president.

In a previous interview with Rappler, Bacolod said the delivery and “modernization” of gun license applications was Purisima’s “impact project” during Bacolod’s time as CSG chief. (READ: Ex-PNP general denies links to ‘shady’ deal)

Previous news reports hinted that Purisima favored Werfast because Bacolod used to be his boss in the CSG. Bacolod, however, clarified that their time together in the CSG was limited because Purisima was transferred after 3 to 4 months. 

The suspension order is only one of many controversies surrounding Purisima.

There are two more cases against Purisima before the Ombudsman: one for allegedly under-declaring a Nueva Ecija property and another over donations made to construct a new “White House” inside Camp Crame. (READ: More questions on PNP chief’s ‘White House,’ discounted car)

Who’s the chief?

It’s been almost 5 days since the Ombudsman’s decision was announced, but Purisima’s place in the PNP remains unclear. 

Purisima’s official trip was supposed to be until December 9, Tuesday, but he decided to fly back to the Philippines days earlier.

The PNP’s 3rd-in-command, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, current serves as the PNP’s officer-in-charge but only until December 9, Tuesday or when Purisima’s “leave” expires. 

The Ombudsman earlier said it would be up to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to implement the suspension.

“We will wait until the higher ups (Malacañag or the DILG) decides,” said Mayor when asked what would happen after December 9.

DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas II is currently in Borongan, Eastern Samar, to spearhead national government’s relief efforts in Eastern Visayas. Roxas earlier said the DILG would follow the Ombudsman’s order, but did not elaborate on how they would implement it.

The same week as the Ombudsman’s announcement, the PNP’s second-in-command, Deputy Director General Felipe Rojas Jr retired from the service. Following the PNP’s hierarchy, Espina is expected to be moved up from being Deputy Director for Operations to Deputy Director for Administration.

Current Chief of Directorial Staff Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr, meanwhile, is expected to take Espina’s place.

The DILG has yet to announce its new appointee to the PNP’s command group. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.