MANILA, Philippines— Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima has yet to address the corruption charges levied against him before the Office of the Ombudsman, as the public and the Palace eagerly await his response.
“Right now, everyone is just waiting for the PNP chief to come home so he can personally address the allegations,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an interview with state-operated Radyo ng Bayan.
Purisima, who was away when the charges were filed by the Coalition of Filipino Consumers (CFC), is expected to return soon from official business in Bogota, Colombia; where he and other officials attended an anti-kidnapping and anti-extortion senior leadership consultation.
Valte added that President Aquino examine the charges against Purisima, in the midst of mounting calls for the police chief’s suspension or even forced resignation.
“Knowing how the President is, he really would want to look at the details so he can see the weight or the lightness of the allegations that have been made, and to see what evidence backs up the supposed allegations,” Valte said.
Presidential assistant on rehabilitation and ex-PNP chief, Panfilo Lacson, earlier called on Purisima to voluntarily resign in order to spare the President from potential “bad press.”
Sen. Grace Poe, on the other hand, said Purisima should go on leave. Some weeks ago, Purisima received flack for his non-appearance at a meeting called by Poe to discuss criminality within the force, and the modernization of the PNP.
Valte clarified that it was unclear to her whether Lacson had personally spoken with Aquino regarding his call for Purisima’s resignation.
“So far, the President has not given us any indication, either way, regarding the statement of Secretary Lacson,” she said.
She added, however, that Aquino and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas would soon be meeting about the matter.
Former secretary of the Interior, Rafael Alunan III, was decidedly stronger in his statement about the matter: “I am wondering if anybody is ‘home,’ since no action has been taken. “The general public is upset because no one seems to be minding the store,” he said
“Crime appears to be on the rise with sensational crimes involving active duty police officers. Yet, there seems to be no palpable action from the Napolcom to explain to the public what steps are being taken to clean house and professionalize the force,” he added.
Purisima allegedly built-up for himself ill-gotten wealth, partly through the receiving of bribe money, which he used to construct a mansion – known in the PNP as the “White House” – inside Camp Crame. A second mansion and a chicken farm in Nueva Ecija are also under scrutiny; as the police chief reportedly under declared the value of the former, and did not declare the latter in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).