Purisima to still ‘float’ after serving suspension

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EVEN if his suspension is lifted this week, resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima will still remain “floating” or unassigned.

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A highly-placed source at Camp Crame in Quezon City on Thursday said Purisima will automatically be placed under the PNP Personnel Holding & Accounting Unit (PHAU) where he will be waiting for reassignment.

In a telephone interview with The Manila Times, the source added that Purisima will be required to report to PHAU every day.

If he does not or is unable to do so, he should file a leave of absence, otherwise he will be declared absent without official leave (AWOL).

While Purisima could not take back the top police post because he had resigned, he could be assigned, for example, as a member of an oversight committee.

The PNP officer-in-charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, also in an interview with reporters on Wednesday, said that normally, a police officer who has served his suspension assumes the same position.

But in the case of the resigned police chief, according to Espina, he does not know because Purisima had vacated the top PNP seat.

He clarified that preventive suspension is not penal in nature and that it is imposed so that a concerned official would not be able to influence any investigation being conducted against him.

Espina said Purisima will be back “on duty status” after his suspension.

The Camp Crame source, meanwhile, said Purisima will probably be the second police official with the highest rank (four-star) to be placed on floating status.

He cited the case of retired Director General Santiago Alino, who did not resign from the service even if then-President Joseph Estrada appointed Roberto Lastimoso as his replacement to the top police post.

With Lastimoso heading the police force, Alino remained without assignment until his retirement upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.

In December last year, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the preventive suspension of Purisima and several other police officials who entered into an allegedly anomalous courier service contract with WERFAST Documentary Agency in 2011.

Their suspension was recommended by the Fact-Finding Investigation Bureau of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (FFIB-MOLEO).

The FFIB-MOLEO accused Purisima of gross negligence and gross neglect of duty.

Purisima resigned in February this year after a bungled police operation in Maguindanao in southern Mindanao where 44 police commandos died in an armed clash with members of the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front on January 25.

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