DILG Secretary Mar Roxas could appear as a knight in shining armor once he succeeds in arresting the deterioration of public order and worsening safety problem of the country. As DILG chief, he’s also chairman of the National Police Commission so he has direct supervision over and control of the PNP.
The late Ramon Magsaysay became a very strong presidential candidate while he was defense secretary with his fast and dramatic actions against insurgency and criminality. Secretary Roxas isn’t doing too well in surveys but he could still come out as a strong 2016 presidential contender should he deliver a crippling blow against criminality.
To deliver such a blow, he should first let go of the incompetent head of the Philippine National Police, Gen. Alan Purisima. Otherwise, Roxas’ resurrection as a serious presidential wannabe would remain just a pipe dream.
The spate of brazen crimes committed under the watch of Purisima shows his incompetence in battling crime. Among the most recent high-profile murders were the shooting of Richard King, owner of Crown Regency chain of hotels, while he was dining with his employees in Davao City, and the ambush of champion car racer Enzo Pastor in Quezon City. Those were among the signs that criminals have no fear of Purisima. Those could only result in lower public esteem for the PNP, Purisima, and even for Secretary Roxas.
Hey, incompetence did I say? Well, it seems that’s not the lone problem with Purisima. I just read the article of Times man Anthony Vargas on the P25-million White House being built inside Crame and I felt like weeping. Anthony’s report quoted Dante Jimenez, the head of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, as saying that the construction of Purisima’s official residence smacks of immorality.
I agree with Jimenez that the immoral nature of the project isn’t erased even if the claim of the PNP be true that the fund for the construction was donated by the Free and Accepted Masons. Jimenez pointed out that the P25-million donation should have been used instead to buy additional equipment for police personnel who are in need of firearms, cars and even boots.
Anthony’s report also cited questions on the supposed donation by the Free Masons. Was there a deed of donation? A Mason had stressed that the organization donates only for civic causes and under no stretch of imagination could the house be classified as a civic cause. If there was indeed a donation, how much was it? There are claims that the Crame White House construction cost only P1.8 million. If the donation was worth P25 million, what happened to the rest of the money?
The Crame White House is just one of the accusations leveled against Purisima. He, along with Chief Superintendent Napoleon Estilles, the head of the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO), has been charged with plunder before the Ombudsman for contracting Wer Fast Documentary Agency (WERFAST), a private courier service company, for the delivery of firearms license cards to gun owners. The complainant alleged that the contract could involve as much as P100 million.
Purisima’s merely describing the plunder case as an amateurish attempt to discredit the PNP wouldn’t do. He has to answer the allegations point by point. For instance, the complainant, one Glenn Gerard Ricafranca of Legazpi City, claimed that Purisima and Estilles signed the contract even before WERFAST was incorporated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Shades of the MRT-3 maintenance contract with PH Trams!
Ricafranca said a number of WERFAST incorporators were close friends and associates of Purisima. Again this reminds me of PH Trams and the sacked MRT head. Purisima was silent on this allegation. How about the claim that the contract was awarded by the PNP without public bidding?
The most serious of Ricafranca’s allegations was that each of the gun owners had to fork over P100 more after the WERFAST contract. He said that gun owners used to pay only P90 for the delivery of their firearms license cards but the amount went up to P190 after WERFAST was given the contract. Clearly, the added cost and inconvenience to gun owners were farthest from Purisima’s mind when he signed the contract.
Lest we forget, the PNP under Purisima is currently under fire for the missing 1,004 AK47 rifles believed to have fallen into the hands of the New People’s Army.
Like Caesar’s wife
Last week, Malacañang said that a nominee should be like Caesar’s wife—not only chaste but perceived to be chaste. This should be applied not only to nominees to the Supreme Court endorsed by an opposition leader but also to incumbent officials even if friendly to the administration. It’s time for Secretary Roxas and the administration to replace Purisima.