A breakdown in peace and order is not a strong reason for President Benigno Aquino 3rd to let go of Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd and Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the two officials continue to enjoy the trust and confidence of President Aquino.
He was reacting to statements of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) calling on the President to sack Roxas and Purisima for their failure to address “the worsening crime rate in the country.” As secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Roxas has control of the police force.
VACC founding chairman Dante Jimenez earlier said the President should replace Roxas and Purisima with more competent individuals.
“There is nothing personal here. Let us protect the institutions. There are a lot of people out there who can focus on strategies meant to protect and benefit our people from crimes,” Jimenez explained.
The anti-crime group sent a letter to Aquino suggesting ways to resolve the peace and security problem. The proposals include the establishment of a modern prison similar to those in the United States and requiring motorcycle passengers to wear vests.
Coloma said the VACC’s proposal is already being studied by the Office of the Executive Secretary.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sa komunikasyon ng VACC sa Pangulo at sa kanilang pagbibigay ng panukala para mabawasan at masabat ang kriminalidad [We appreciate the communication sent by the VACC to the President and its proposal to reduce and fight crimes],” he added
The PNP has been criticized for the recent killings of high-profile personalities including Richard King, owner of Crown Regency chain of hotels, and champion car racer Ferdinand “Enzo” Pastor.
King, 57, was shot by a lone gunman inside his office in Dav ao City last week.
Pastor, 32, on the other hand, was ambushed by two motorcycle-riding assassins in Quezon City on Thursday also last week. On Wednesday, Coloma cited the acute lack of policemen as reason behind the seeming rise in criminality.
But, he insisted, the government is working to address these shortcomings and that the PNP is determined to step up its campaign against crime prevention. Coloma noted that President Aquino has been taking a hands-on attitude when it comes to crime and police matters.
“There is no failure in that aspect of supervision,” the Palace official said.
According to Coloma, the PNP is increasing its visibility through intensified patrols and checkpoints especially in critical areas.
He said the PNP is recruiting 18,500 additional police officers. “All measures are being undertaken to make PNP’s law enforcement capacity effective.”