Malacañang on Friday said it sees nothing sinister in the decision of Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Alan Purisima to reassign the leader of the police team that arrested fugitive Delfin Lee.
Sr. Supt Conrad Capa, the head of Task Force Tugis, led the arrest of Lee, who was wanted for taking out about P7 billion in fraudulent loans from the state-run Pag-IBIG Fund, in a hotel in Manila last week.
“I would not see anything behind the Chief PNP’s decision,” Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte told media in a press briefing.
She said Capa’s transfer “is actually the path to promotion.”
There had been plans for Capa’s eventual transfer even before he made the arrest, she said.
“I was speaking to the PIO of the PNP, Gen. [Theodore] Sindac, and he did tell me that they were actually planning a ceremony, a congratulatory ceremony for Task Force [Tugis] and that it was supposed to be a surprise. But because of recent events they had to say that yes, something was, indeed, in the works for . . . his eventual transfer,” she said.
“So, you know, given that they should already be communicating with Colonel Capa, we hope that really this will be put to rest,” she added.
On Thursday, Purisima announced Capa had been designated Deputy Regional Director for Operations in Cebu City
But Capa was unhappy about his removal from the Tugis post and said Lee was behind it.
He has said if Purisima really wanted to promote him, he could have been assigned to an equivalent post at the PNP national headquarters in Camp Crame.
But for Antipolo City Rep. Romeo Acop, Capa does not deserve a promotion.
“If I were the PNP Chief, I would not even reward him. The Task Force is tasked to run after five fugitives. What they did was their job. When you do your job, you are expected to do it excellently. You are paid by taxpayers’ money to do your job well. It is baffling that he is raising a fuss over the reassignment when in the PNP, you cannot choose your assignment,” Acop, a former police chief superintendent, told The Manila Times in a phone interview.
“The other question is, what took you so long in capturing Lee? He said that Lee’s arrest was a major achievement. Well, Task Force Usig only got one of the five people.
Consider the timeframe. He is calling that a major achievement? If they got three out of the five people in three months, then I would say he should not be rewarded,” Acop said.
Aside from Lee, the other most wanted fugitives are brothers Joel and Mario Reyes, former Brig. Gen. Jovito Palparan and former Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr.
“Why is he in such a hurry to be promoted? There is a ladder to climb. The problem here is that the public is being taken for a ride because they don’t know the intricacies of the promotion process in the PNP. He even lamented that he will be away from his family.
The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Friday doubted Capa’s sudden promotion.
Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, UNA’s secretary general, said Purisima is sending the wrong signal to members of the PNP by promoting Capa.
Tiangco said he finds it hard to believe Purisima’s explanation that Capa was rewarded with a promotion when in fact he was pulled out from Tugis.
“Is this part of PNP’s damage control? It is hard to connect the alleged promotion to the relief of Capa as head of the task force that arrested Delfin Lee,” he added.
“Instead of inspiring our police force, the relief sends a chilling message that certain high-profile personalities are off limits,” Tiangco said.
There are reports circulating inside Camp Crame that Purisima suspected Capa of revealing the identity of Liberal Party treasurer and Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali as the one who called Purisima to intervene during Lee’s arrest.
Tiangco said Capa’s arbitrary relief from Tugis reinforces the perception that high-profile personalities have ‘padrinos’ and protectors within the PNP.
With A Report From Ritchie A. Horario