Mario Casayuran | Manila Bulletin
Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. proposed yesterday the creation of an official and transparent selection body that would determine the qualifications of candidates and recommend to the President a short list from which he would choose the director-general of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“This way, friends of the President will not bump off those who are most competent, most loyal to the country, most upright and most public service-oriented candidates. The selection process should not be secret and must be open to the public,” Marcos, chairman of the Senate Local Government Committee, said.
“Thus, the President should not just look under his nose and go beyond friendship in choosing the next PNP chief,” he said.
Marcos aired this sentiment as he said that President Aquino’s friendship with PNP chief Alan Purisima made him choose the police general as PNP chief in 2012.
He said Purisima’s closeness to the President was seen to be the reason why the resigned police officer has not been charged in court for his major role, while on leave, in the execution of the botched January 25 “Oplan Exodus” where 44 members of the PNP Special Action Force (SAF) died in a firefight with fighters of the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and private armed groups at Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
The intent of the operation, strategized by Purisima before he was suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman on graft charges, was to arrest two notorious Muslim rebels reportedly hiding under the protection of the MILF.
“Five months after the 44 SAF troopers were murdered in the infamous Mamasapano massacre, General Purisima still enjoys the comfort of home and the company of his friends while the orphans of the fallen policemen cry for justice. It seems that his closeness with the President is working favorably for him,” Marcos said.
During the Senate probe into his alleged interference with the plan to bag the two Muslim bomb experts, Purisima tendered his resignation as PNP chief but not as a member of the PNP.
In his absence, President Aquino named PNP Deputy Director Leonardo Espina as PNP officer-in-charge.
Since Espina appears headed for retirement on July without any promotion, the race is on for the next PNP chief.
Media accounts show that the strongest contenders for the post are Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, backed by House of Representative Speaker Feliciano Belmonte; PNP Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr., supported by Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel “Mar” A. Roxas II; and Director Benjamin Magalong, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), backed by former Sen. Panfilo Lacson, himself a former PNP chief.
On June 9, Marcos delivered a privilege speech calling on the President to stop giving Purisima “special treatment” and remove him from the police force as well as charge him in court for the death of the 44 SAF policemen.
In appointing Purisima as PNP chief, President Aquino had broken the tradition of appointing the most senior officer to the post, Marcos said.