By Mario Casayuran | Manila Bulletin
Senators welcomed yesterday the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman dismissing from the service Director-General Alan Purisima, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, and 10 other PNP officials for entering into an anomalous contract with courier service WerFast Documentary Agency in 2011.
‘’Kailangan nating respetuhin ang desisyon ng Ombudsman. Sila ang inatasan ng Saligang Batas na sumuri sa tibay ng ebidensya at magpataw ng karampatang parusa sa mga lingkod bayan na lumalabag sa Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practice Act (We must respect the decision of the Ombudsman which is directed by the Constitution to determine the strength of the evidence and to impose sanctions on those who violate the Anti-Graft law),” Sen. Grace Poe, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs, said.
Poe also joined some senators in pressing for the appointment by Malacañang of a new PNP chief who is the symbol of good leadership and who can inspire the PNP as an organization.
Sen. Aquilino ‘’Koko’’ Pimentel III, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee, said the decision of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to dismiss Purisima and several others was proof that she is apolitical and does not take sides. Pimentel, a bar topnotcher, said he has long known Morales as objective. She is credible, he added.
Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, welcomed Purisima’s dismissal, recalling his request to President Aquino to relieve Purisima and file appropriate charges against him for taking part in the Jan. 25 Mamasapano operation when he had been suspended by the Ombudsman in connection with a plunder case against him.
Malacañang, however, had come to the defense of Purisima whom President Aquino acknowledged as a close friend. He reportedly told the senator: “Leave Purisima alone.”
“Even if Malacañang remains deaf to the plea for justice of the families of the Fallen 44, the action of the Ombudsman gives us a sense of relief that Purisima is not untouchable and can be made to answer for his wrongdoings,” Marcos said.
“Purisima has to face all the criminal charges filed against him for what he did as PNP chief. He must also pay a separate price for illegally taking part in the Mamasapano operation that resulted in the death of the SAF 44,” Marcos said.
Purisima was expected to go back to work as a police officer last June 10 after serving the Ombudsman’s suspension order but opted to file for leave of absence.
Senator Marcos had then said that Purisima’s insistence on returning to service, keeping his 4-star rank, was causing disarray in the PNP organization and preventing the appointment of a permanent PNP chief.
In a 50-page consolidated decision released Tuesday, Ombudsman Morales found substantial evidence to hold Purisima liable for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and grave abuse of authority.
Aside from dismissal from service, other penalties imposed on Purisima included forfeiture of retirement benefits, cancellation of eligibility, and perpetual disqualification from re-employment in the government service.
The 10 others meted the same fate were Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, chief of the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO); Chief Supt. Napoleon Estilles, Senior Supt. Allan Parreño, Senior Supt. Eduardo Acierto, Senior Supt. Melchor Reyes, Supt. Lenbell Fabia, Chief Inspector Sonia Calixto, Chief Inspector Nelson Bautista, Chief Inspector Ricardo Zapata Jr., and Senior Inspector Ford Tuazon.
Purisima was charged by a private citizen in a P100-million case alleging plunder, graft, and abuse of authority in the use of the courier service to deliver firearms licenses.
‘NO SELECTIVE JUSTICE’
The dismissal of Purisima should dispel allegations of selective justice in the administration’s anti-corruption campaign, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said yesterday in a text message. “We expect the Ombudsman Order to be carried out as directed,” he said.
The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal of Purisima, Patrasanta, and nine others in connection with the forging of an anomalous contract with a courier service on the delivery of gun licenses.
Purisima and Petrasanta, who served as security aides of the late President Corazon Aquino, were placed under preventive suspension in December, 2014.
The police officials were found liable for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and grave abuse of authority. They will forfeit their retirement benefits, are prohibited from taking civil service examinations, and are perpetually barred from working in government.
Before the news broke out about Purisima’s dismissal, the President held a closed-door meeting with Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas in Malacañang last Tuesday afternoon. Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the meeting was on “PNP matters,” including the country’s peace and order situation.
Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina has been named officer-in-charge of the PNP since December, 2014. Espina will retire from the service on July 19. (With a report from Genalyn Kabiling)