MANILA -– Senator Francis Escudero has lauded President Benigno S. Aquino III for accepting the resignation of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima following the Mamasapano encounter that killed 44 PNP Special Action Force (SAF) troopers on January 25.
”The President put the interest of the PNP as an organization first before his personal friendship and preferences. I commend him for that,” Escudero said in a text message.
At the same time, Escudero said the President should immediately designate a new police chief “to provide stability and direction in the PNP at this difficult time.”
Purisima had stepped down amid allegations that he directed the operation to get two high profile terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman despite being suspended by the Ombudsman on corruption charges.
The former PNP chief denied the allegation by SAF chief Director General Police Director Getulio Napeñas Jr. who was dismissed following the operation that ended up in an encounter with the elements Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
President Aquino said the operation against Marwan was successful but “our work is not yet done” because Usman is still at large.
Purisima said he will attend the Senate inquiry on Monday to clear his name.
Napenas has also been invited in the investigation along with acting PNP chief Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina who claimed he was not aware of the operation.