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PNP welcomes 2015 without its chief

Bea Cupin
PNP welcomes 2015 without its chief
During a New Year’s Call attended by top officials of the PNP and Napolcom, DILG chief Mar Roxas says the suspension of its chief won’t affect operations
MANILA, Philippines – With their chief suspended and several high-profile events scheduled in the Philippines this year, Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel were put on the spotlight Wednesday, January 7.
“For all the long hours that your husbands are not home, for all the weekends that you have to give up… for all those times when lives was abnormal for you and for your family because of the chosen work of your husbands and wives. On behalf of a grateful nation, I thank you,” Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas told a hall full of the PNP’s top officers and their spouses during the 2015 New Year’s Call at Camp Crame on Wednesday.
During the New Year’s Call, PNP personnel pay a courtesy call on their respective bosses. Roxas as the Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary is also the chairman of the National Police Commission (Napolcom).
‘FROM A GRATEFUL NATION.’ DILG chief Mar Roxas thanks the families of PNP personnel during the 2015 New Year’s Call at Camp Crame. Rappler photo

“All of the 150,000 men and women of the PNP everyday come to work, go on duty, don their uniform knowing that the simple act of putting on that uniform makes them a target,” said Roxas, later asking the crowd for a moment of silence for police officers who died in the line of duty in 2013 and 2014.

Absent in the event, attended by officials of both the PNP and Napolcom, was suspended PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima.

Purisima is currently serving a preventive suspension order over a supposedly anomalous deal between a courier service and the PNP’s Firearms and Explosives Office.

PNP still focused on job

The year 2015 is proving to be a busier-than-normal year for the 150,000-strong police force, with the upcoming visit of Pope Francis, and the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.

Reiterating previous statements, Roxas downplayed concerns that the PNP would be handicapped with its chief suspended. Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, currently the Deputy Director for Operations, serves as the PNP’s Office-in-Charge.

Roxas said based on a circular from the Napolcom defining the role of the PNP’s OIC, Espina’s capacity to lead the organization would not be any less than that of a fully-fledged PNP chief.

“‘Wag tayong mababaon sa OIC, acting, designated… Ang PNP, solid ang chain of command, nakatututok ito sa criminality (Let’s not be fixated on the difference between an OIC, acting, or designated PNP chief. The PNP has a solid chain of command and it is focused on reducing criminality),” Roxas later told reporters after the event, which was followed by another New Year’s Call with officiers from the Bureau of Jail Management and the Bureau of Fire Protection.

The DILG chief admitted he has yet to speak to Purisima since the Ombudsman issued the suspension order in December last year.

Roxas earlier said replacing Purisma was a “possibility,” but it appears that Malacañang is not considering this for now.

The preventive suspension is the latest in a series of controversies surrounding the PNP chief. Through it all, one of Purisima’s staunchest supporters was no less than President Benigno Aquino III himself.

In a recent interview with TV personality Vice Ganda, Aquino defended Purisima anew, saying he did not know the PNP chief as a bad cop.

While Purisima has “accepted” the suspension order from the Ombudsman, he has filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against his suspension before the Court of Appeals. –

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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.