MANILA – Following calls for him to appoint an acting head for the Philippine National Police, President Aquino said yesterday that he is now looking for a new police chief.
This is after the Office of the Ombudsman has released a six-month preventive suspension order against police chief Director General Alan Purisima.
Purisima was suspended for his alleged involvement in the anomalous gun license delivery conducted by the police force with a private company.
Several senators including Senate President Franklin Drilon earlier urged the President to appoint an acting chief that will look after the tasks left by Purisima.
Drilon cited the importance of ensuring that the security preparations for the visit of Pope Francis and the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit next year will not be affected by a leadership hiatus in the PNP.
Aquino, however, said that Philippine National Police Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina has to automatically take over as the officer-in-charge (OIC) since Purisima is on preventive suspension.
Drilon, meanwhile said that an OIC has limited “power to effect changes and reforms in the PNP,” hence the need to appoint an acting PNP cheif.
“In an organization such as the Philippine National Police where authority and leadership is strictly observed, Purisima’s suspension from his post would turn it into a ‘headless’ body,” Drilon said in a statement.
“That situation is what we wanted to prevent, especially in light of the forthcoming hosting of the Philippines of two high-profile events next year which would require a full-time PNP chief to be on top of all security preparations,” he pointed out.