SAN LEONARDO, Nueva Ecija: It’s no ordinary house.
This was the consensus reached by newsmen who were allowed to step inside the controversial house of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima in this town on Monday.
“It may be an ordinary house by General Purisima’s standard. But to us, it’s a dream house,” remarked a reporter upon seeing the house in Barangay Magpapalayok.
Though not opulent, the house sitting on 204 square meters, has five bedrooms —three downstairs and two at the attic. It is equipped with a CCTV and has a function hall. Within the compound is a separate guesthouse with two bedrooms, a gazebo made from nipa and a swimming pool.
Purisima reportedly acquired the 4.5-hectare property from Leandro Gonzales 4th, owner of the Gonzales hospital in this town, in 1998. The house was built in 2002 and renovated in 2012.
Tito Purisima, a cousin of the PNP chief, toured members of the media around the property. Also present was PNP Public Information chief Senior Supt. Wilben Mayor.
“As reporters could see, this property is no mansion by any standard. It is an ordinary house, as ordinary as the other concrete houses that you would see in the neighborhood,” the PNP chief said in a statement.
“By inviting the media, it is my hope that some questions related to my property would be put to rest,” he added.
When he appeared at the Senate last week, Purisima said his resthouse was ordinary. After the Senate hearing, he invited mediamen to visit the house and judge for themselves whether it really was a mansion as some had claimed it to be.
Purisima’s decision to open his house to members of the press, however, did not impress anti-crime advocates who maintained that the PNP chief still had a lot of explaining to do.
Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), said in an interview that while the group lauds Purisima’s move to allow the media inside his resthouse, it still wants to hear from Purisima himself what the real value of the entire property is.
Based on Purisima’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) in 2013, the property was valued at P3,750,000.
But Jimenez said nobody knows the true value of the property or how Purisima was able to acquire it with his income as a police officer.
“We are also wondering why the Municipal Assessor’s office of San Leonardo doesn’t have a record that Purisima owns the property,” the VACC head added.
Aside from the property in San Leonardo, Jimenez said Purisima also needs to explain why he kept the construction of the PNP’s chief’s residence in Camp Crame dubbed the “White House” a secret.
He added that Purisima should also shed light on the questionable purchase of his Toyota Prado Land Cruiser, which he acquired for only P1.5 million when the vehicle is normally priced around P4.5 million to P6 million.
The VACC is set to file a supplemental complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman against Purisima regarding his 200-hectare farm in Barangay Aulo in Palayan City, also in Nueva Ecija, which was not listed in his SALN.
GMA 7 reported about the 200-hectare farm but, according to the report, the City Assessor’s office of Palayan has no record that the PNP chief owns the property.
Purisima, in a news conference last week, admitted owning the 200-hectare property but could not recall when he acquired it.
Jimenez expressed concern that Purisima, who is very close to President Benigno Aquino 3rd, could use his influence to be able to change the details of his pieces of property to avoid possible investigation.
“That is why we are appealing to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to immediately act on our complaint against the PNP chief in order to find out the truth,” he said
Militant workers joined calls to charge Purisima, saying opening his house to the media was a futile attempt to cover up his dishonesty in his SALN.
“The mere fact that his Nueva Ecija estate and poultry farm were not honestly declared in his SALN is already in direct violation of Republic Act 6713. There is no more use for the people to view the contents of his house,” said Gie Relova of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP).
The militant leader took a swipe at the Office of the Ombudsman, saying the agency is “again sitting on its fat ass.”
“Why has Purisima not been charged? Why are they allowing a graft case to be eaten alive by a Senate committee and members of the press before they start acting upon their mandate? Their inaction is inexcusable,” he said.
The PNP chief is facing plunder and indirect bribery complaints at the Office of the Ombudsman.