When President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd went to Europe two weeks ago, he boasted of his alleged achievements that included the purported “reforms” under his administration. One example he cited was the ouster of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona from office in May 2012. As Chief Justice of the High Tribunal, Mr. Corona represented the Judiciary, a co-equal branch of government – at least in theory!
Another example that President B. S. Aquino 3rd cited was the ouster of former Ombudsman Merciditas Gutierrez in May 2011, who was also appointed by former President Gloria Macapagal–Arroyo. But unlike Ombudsman Gutierrez who was forced to resign on 29 April 2011 under the threat of an impeachment trial, former Chief Justice Corona did not quit and went through the impeachment political process by Congress.
A total of 188 members of the House of Representatives signed the EIGHT Articles of Impeachment on December 12, 2011 against the Supreme Court Chief Justice. The indecent haste in which the complaints were signed made it apparent that the complaints were hardly read by the “honourable” members of the Lower House of Congress.
The Articles of Impeachment were transmitted to the Senate on January 16, 2012. Four months later on May 29, 2012, the Senate acting as an Impeachment Court convicted Chief Justice Corona — found him “Guilty!”– by a vote of 20-3 and had him removed from office.
However, during the Impeachment Trial, then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile acting as the Presiding Judge, twice said that there was no issue on the “hidden wealth.”
Out of the EIGHT Articles of Impeachment, the Prosecutors from the House of Representatives later were able to use only One Complaint that was on the Statement of Assets. Liabilities & Net Worth (SALN) of Chief Justice Corona. The issue was on the peso and dollar bank accounts which were not declared in his SALN, but Mr. Corona maintained were covered by the secrecy laws of the Philippines.
Double standard and missing SALN
It is most disturbing that President Aquino is now shamelessly using a hypocritical double-standard on the SALN issues against Philippine National Police (PNP) Director-General Allan Purisima. PNoy had Chief Justice Corona ousted over his SALN, but is now defending Purisima, his trusted former member of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) during the term of his mother, on the same issue of the SALN
What is equally disturbing is that the obvious ploy to hide the SALN of PNP Chief Purisima. This can be confirmed by the staff of ABS-CBN TV program Failon Ngayon who searched for the elusive SALN. At first, they went to the Office of the Ombudsman to obtain a copy of Purisima’s SALN only to be told that they had no copy of said SALN and were advised to proceed to the Office of the President.
The staff of Failon Ngayon suffered the same fate in Malacañang: No copy in their files. So they proceeded to the Civil Service Commission only to be told that they, too, had
no copy. However, after the expose in ABS-CBN by Ted Failon, the Civil Service Commission suddenly called to say that they had found the SALN of General Purisima. Amazing how something missing can be easily found after an expose in mass media.
The Senate hearings last Tuesday revealed that the contents of the SALN of the PNP chief are dubious, to say the least. His 4.7-hectare property in San Leonardio, Nueva Ecija, has a declared value of only P3.7 Million. This can be true only if it is a vacant lot, but it is a developed resort-property with three buildings and a swimming pool that will easily cost P25.0 Million. All told, the total value should be at least P30.0 Million.
The other serious charges against the PNP chief are the P11.0 million donation from friends for his “White House” official residence at Camp Crame and the P2.5 Million discount given to his Toyota Pardo SUV by a generous dealer in San Fernando, Pampanga. Civil Service Commission Chairman Francisco Duque III said that Purisima should not have accepted the questionable discount on the luxury sports utility vehicle (SUV).
Yet Purisima will not resign because he believes that he has done a great job as PNP Chief in the past two years. He has rated his performance an obscene “9” in the scale of 1 -10. However, if his performance appraisal of himself is accurate, then how can he explain the obvious surge in criminality that myriad Filipinos and foreign residents have taken serious notice of?
For PNP Director-General Purisima to think that he has done such a fantastic job would be similar to the assessment of PNoy of the performance of the Aquino administration in the past four years. Well, they are both delusional and they seem to take care of each other, which explains Aquino’s stubborn support of Purisima.
Fearless forecast on Purisima
My fearless prognosis is that Purisima would resign from his post as PNP Director-General within this month of October. No less than House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte has announced that the controversial chief of our national police has to go. Speaker Belmonte also criticized President Aquino for defending the discredited and unlamented Purisima.
The refusal of an obstinate Purisima to resign amid the clamor for his dismissal would jeopardize the multi-billion modernization budget of the PNP. It is not difficult for senators to block the passage of the PNP budget in the General Appropriations Act (GAA). This will leave the PNP chief no choice, but to resign.
Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order, does not believe that Purisima was telling the truth during the Senate inquiry. However, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda believes otherwise and declared the PNP chief was “truthful” in his statements and has “moral ascendancy” over the PNP.
It is not only misery that loves company. Delusions also do! That makes them “Three is Company” – Lacierda, Purisima & PNoy!