MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday, February 5, accepted the resignation of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima.
Rappler learned from two senior government sources that the President announced this to about a dozen Cabinet members at Malacañang on Thursday.
"He said it matter of factly," one of the sources told Rappler. "He said, 'I have accepted General Purisima's resignation.'"
The announcement came almost 2 weeks after a special police operation against two top terrorists killed 44 members of the elite Special Action Force (SAF). That January 25 operation was supervised by Purisima even if he was already suspended by then.
Purisima's lawyer, Kristoffer James Purisima, however said: "As far as I know General Purisima has not tendered any resignation."
Find competent replacement
The spokesperson of Vice President Jejomar Binay said Purisma’s resignation “should not be used as a subterfuge for the truth in the bloody encounter in Mamasapano.”
He should still face the investigation to shed light on the Mamasapano incident, Quicho said.
In a statement, Senate President Franklin Drilon urged the President to immediately find a “competent” replacement for Purisima, “one who will be able to effectively lead the Philippine National Police and overcome its many challenges in these trying times.”
“This is the first step that will restore the morale of our personnel in the PNP which has been greatly affected by therecent turn of unfortunate events,” Drilon said.
He also asked Purisma to cooperate with the investigating bodies tasked to look into what happened in Mamasapano.
Aquino also admitted on Wednesday, January 28, that he was in touch with Purisima regarding the operation, but only for help to "understand the jargon."
On Thursday, the acting PNP chief, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, himself said the PNP needs a full-time chief considering the crisis triggered by the Mamasapano clash. Espina said he was informed about the Mamasapano operation only after the SAF troops had entered the area.
The sacked commander of SAF, Director Getulio Napeñas Jr, earlier said Purisima ordered him to inform Espina only after they'd reached the area.
The operation led to a bloody clash with troops from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which signed a peace agreement with the Aquino government. – Rappler.com