Choose PNP Chief Beyond Friendship
President Benigno S. Aquino III should not just look under his nose. He must go beyond friendship in choosing the next chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. aired this sentiment as he said that President Aquino’s friendship with Director General Alan Purisima made him choose the police general as PNP chief in 2012.
Purisima’s closeness to the President is seen to be the reason why the resigned police officer has not been charged in court for his major role, while on leave, in the botched January 25 police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that led to the death of 44 members of the Special Action Force.
“Five months after 44 SAF troopers were murdered in the infamous Mamasapano massacre, Gen. Purisima still enjoyed the comfort of his home and the company of his friends while the orphans of the fallen policemen cry for justice. It seems that his closeness with the President is working favorably for him,” Marcos said in a statement.
The race is on for the next PNP chief. According to media accounts, the strongest contenders for the post are Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta, backed by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte; Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr., supported by DILG Sec. Mar Roxas; and Director Benjamin Magalong of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, backed by former Sec. Panfilo Lacson.
In choosing the next PNP head, Marcos proposed the creation of an official and transparent selection body that will vet the qualifications of candidates and recommend to the President a short list from which he will choose.
“This way, friends of the President will not bump off those who are most competent, most loyal to the country, most upright, and most public service-oriented candidates. The selection process should not be secret and must be open to the public,” he said.
On June 9, Marcos delivered a privilege speech calling on the President to stop giving Purisima “special treatment” and remove him from the police force as well as charge him in court for the death of the SAF 44.
In February, Purisima resigned as PNP chief amid public outrage and calls for him to resign because of the Mamasapano massacre. Earlier, he had been suspended by the Ombudsman for alledged anomalies and replaced by Deputy Director Leonardo Espina who took over as officer in-charge.
In appointing Purisima as PNP chief, President Aquino had broken the tradition of appointing the most senior officer to the post. Purisima replaced then PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome.
Mr. Aquino again made known his closeness with Purisima when he announced in a televised public address that he was accepting Purisima’s resignation with a heavy heart because of their long history of friendship and because the police general has never abandoned him. /MP