MANILA — Malacanang on Thursday decried an article published by a major daily claiming that Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II requested Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Alan Purisima and Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr. be fired.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the article at Manila Standard Today entitled, “Roxas wanted Purisima, Ochoa fired, source says,” is not factual.
“The article asserts that Secretary Roxas barged into a meeting between President Aquino and Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima to recommend to the President the removal of suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Alan Purisima and Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr. No such incident occurred,” he said.
Lacierda said “the February 3, 2015, 1:00 p.m., meeting with Secretary Cesar Purisima, which the article referred to, did not push through.”
“This article is premised on something that never took place,” he said.
“During a time of mourning for our country, we call upon all sectors to practice prudence and refrain from adding to the grief of our countrymen,” he added.
The issue is in relation to the operations of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015, which resulted to the death of 44 members of the police’s elite group.
Government officials said the operation was headed by the currently-suspended PNP chief.
Ochoa was said to be among the very few officials who knew about it, but Roxas, the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), was not reportedly informed.