PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd has decided to let go of one of his most trusted lieutenants, suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima, who resigned over a bungled police operation in Maguindanao where 44 elite Special Action Force (SAF) commandos died.
While Malacañang is yet to make an official announcement about the resignation, various sources confirmed Purisima’s quitting, saying Aquino made the disclosure during a meeting with some Cabinet officials on Thursday.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., in a news briefing, fended off questions about the issue, stressing that he had no information regarding the matter.But Coloma said Purisima has not been functioning “in the position to which he has been appointed” because of the suspension order on him given by the Department of the Interior and Local Government upon recommendation by the Office of the Ombudsman.
The Palace official also clarified that he could not ascertain whether or not Purisima still enjoys the trust and confidence of the president in the wake of a number of controversies where he got embroiled in, the latest of which was the Mamasapano carnage.
Purisima was suspended on December 4, 2014 over graft charges.
Aquino earlier admitted on national TV that the plan to arrest suspected terrorists in Mamasapano town was plotted by Purisima.
Senate President Franklin Drilon urged Aquino to immediately appoint a new PNP chief.
“This is the first step that will restore the morale of our personnel in the PNP which has been greatly affected by the recent turn of unfortunate events,” Drilon said, referring to the bloody clash between members of the Special Action Forces (SAF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that left 44 elite commandos dead.
The Senate President emphasized the need for the immediate appointment of a new police chief in order to bring back the morale of policemen.
Even if Purisima has resigned, Drilon said he should cooperate with all the investigating bodies that are tasked to uncover the truth in the Mamasapano encounter.