PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd may be “digging his own grave” by his continued defense of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima, who is facing a slew of charges in connection with his alleged “hidden wealth,” according to the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).
Dante Jimenez, VACC chairperson, on Wednesday said by keeping Purisima in his post, the President’s downfall may be imminent.
“It’s sad that PNoy continues to defend him. He may be digging his own grave if he doesn’t change his position. It appears now that he [Aquino] is the problem and not Purisima,” the VACC chief told The Manila Times in an interview.
Jimenez’s remarks came as Palace spokesperson Edwin Lacierda defended Purisima, saying the police official was able to answer all the “difficult” questions when he appeared before the Senate on Tuesday.
“He [Purisima] attended the Senate hearing and he answered the questions truthfully and based on what he knows,” Lacierda said in a press briefing also on Wednesday.
“This is an issue where you see General Purisima answering all the questions with candor. Whether you would agree or not with that assess[ment], we have to hand it to General Purisima that he answered all those questions truthfully,” Lacierda stressed.
But Jimenez insisted that Purisima “was lying through his teeth.”
“He was lying, especially on his SALN [statement of assets liabilities and networth]. We will demand for his SALN for the past 20 years like what Vice President [Jejomar] Binay presented,” said Jimenez, who was among the resource persons invited during the hearing chaired by Poe. Teresita Ang-See, another anti-crime advocate, also attended the hearing.
During the hearing, Purisima admitted having approved the construction of the official residence of the PNP chief inside Camp Crame, better known as the White House, through “donations” from his close friends worth more than P11 million.
Also, he said he acquired a luxury sport utility vehicle, a Toyota Prado, at a low price of P1.5 million when the vehicle is priced at least P4 million in the market.
But Lacierda said Purisima deserves due process and must be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Asked if Purisima still has the moral ascendancy to lead the PNP, Lacierda replied: “Yes, I believe so. As the head PNP official, it is his mandate—number one—to address all these issues on peace and order and also that it is in his mandate to reform the PNP organization.”
Jimenez however maintained that it was “clear as the light of day” that Purisima violated the law against “bribery.”
He said the PNP chief violated Article 211 of the Revised Penal Code.
Article 211 of the code pertains to indirect bribery.