President Benigno Aquino 3rd again defended embattled Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima from accusations that he amassed unexplained wealth.
Aquino told Filipino reporters in the US on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) that he had known Purisima since 1987 when the PNP chief was with the Presidential Security Group under the administration of his mother, the late former President Corazon Aquino.
“I have never seen him live luxuriously or eat too much,” Aquino said.
Purisima was with the younger Aquino when his convoy was ambushed in a failed coup attempt against his mother in 1987.
On Monday, the Coalition of Filipino Consumers (CFC) filed plunder, graft and indirect bribery charges against Purisima at the Office of the Ombudsman.
The group claimed that Purisima grossly undervalued in his 2013 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth the Nueva Ecija property that he jointly owned with his wife Ma. Ramona Lydia. The PNP chief listed the value of the property at P3.750 million.
It said Purisima’s property could be worth P30 million to P40 million.
The CFC also claimed that Purisima committed an act of indirect bribery when he admitted that the money he used for the “White House’s” renovation came from some of his friends and patrons.
Malacañang has asked the public to give the PNP chief a chance to defend himself.
”We have not heard General Purisima yet. So again, we’re asking that let’s give General Purisima an opportunity to explain and respond to all the allegations against him then we will be able to see the entire perspective,” Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a news conference on Wednesday, noting that persons accused of a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Lacierda added that Aquino and Purisima’s closeness should not be an issue.
“I think we have shown in this administration that friendship is not a hindrance when there is a call for impartial investigation,” he noted.
“The President has already mentioned yesterday [Tuesday] in the Harvard forum that if there are any allegations, the courts are open, you can always file a case in court. It goes for allies, it goes for anyone in this government,” Lacierda said.
He added that it is up to Purisima if he will take an administrative leave.
“It’s always a question that should be referred to the person concerned because taking a leave is always a personal decision. Unless it’s ordered by an administrative body or by a judicial body, taking a personal leave is always a personal discretion on the part of person being asked,” Lacierda said.