Espina on resignation: I didn’t want to get in the way

Bea Cupin
Espina on resignation: I didn’t want to get in the way
‘I didn’t want to get in the way of President Aquino’s free hand in appointing a new Chief PNP,’ says the police general of his resignation letter

MANILA, Philippines – “I am duty-bound to lead the organization as we continue to move on.”

Police Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, the temporary head of Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday, April 17, broke his silence on his resignation as officer-in-charge (OIC).

In a statement, Espina explained he resigned as OIC because he “didn’t want to get in the way of the President Aquino’s free hand in appointing a new Chief PNP.”

The President on Friday confirmed Espina’s resignation but stressed he has not acted on it.

Espina has been the OIC of the 150,000-strong PNP since December 2014, when its former chief Director General Alan Purisima was preventively suspended for a graft case.

Purisima, whose suspension lapses in June 2015, eventually resigned in early February 2015 after it was revealed that he participated in a top-secret police operation that claimed the lives of at least 67, including 44 elite cops.

The 3-star police general, concurrently the PNP’s Deputy Chief for Administration, has led the PNP through its biggest crisis yet. 

Espina has been vocal about the need for the PNP to have a new, full-time chief sooner rather than later. But Aquino, on Friday, asked for “patience” as he continues to screen contenders for the post of PNP chief.

In the statement, Espina thanked the President for his “continued expression of trust and confidence” in him by choosing to let him stay on as OIC. He also thanked Interior Secretary and National Police Commission chairman Manuel Roxas II for his “expanded” powers as PNP OIC.

“For my part, I offer President Aquino and the national leadership my sincerest personal pledge of professional commitment to the mission of the PNP to serve and protect the people,” said Espina, who is set to retire July 2015. 

Aquino told reporters on Friday that Espina’s resignation was “pending” until he finds a full-time PNP chief.

Espina called on the PNP to “rally behind the new leader whom President Aquino will name soon.”

Aquino, who said he was in the midst of interviewing and checking on potential PNP chief candidates, did not give a definite timeline of when he would be announcing the new chief of the PNP. –

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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.