MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the preventive suspension of Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima in connection with a supposed anomalous contract the PNP entered into with a courier service in 2011.
At a press briefing Thursday, Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan announced Purisima’s suspension for six months without pay amid administrative investigation.
The order has been issued to the Department of Interior and Local Government.
“Upon receipt, [the] DILG secretary must immediately implement [the order],” Rafanan said.
At present, Purisima is also facing two plunder complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman over his alleged hidden wealth. He is currently under fire for his sprawling resthouse in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija, and the allegedly questionable renovation of the PNP chief’s official quarters inside Camp Crame.
Aside from Purisima, also suspended for six months without pay pending administrative investigation are:
Police Director Gil Meneses, former chief of the Civil Security Group (CSG); and former officials of the PNP Firearms Explosive Office, namely P/C Supt. Raul Petrasanta, P/C Supt. Napoleon Estilles, P/SSupt. Allan Pareno, P/SSupt. Eduardo Acierto, P/SSupt. Melchor Reyes, P/SSupt. Lenbell Fabia, P/Supt. Sonia Calixto, P/CInps. Nelson Bautista, P/SInsp. Ford Tuazon, and P/CInsp. Ricardo Zapata.
Aside from this, Rafanan said Petrasanta and others – excluding Purisima, Meneses, Reyes, and Estilles – will also face preventive suspension of six months in connection with the ongoing probe on the missing AK-47 firearms.
He noted that the second order may simultaneously be implemented with the first preventive suspension in connection with the alleged anomalous courier service contract.
He added that only Meneses and Estilles, as well as P/CSupt. Tomas Rentoy II, who is included in the complaint, are not included in the second order “because the Ombudsman noted that they are already retired.”
Purisima, meanwhile, was not among the respondents in the complaint regarding the AK-47 firearms.
PNP mum for the meantime
PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. Wilben Mayor refused to give a statement as of the moment, saying Pursima and the other police officials have yet to receive a copy of the suspension order from the DILG.
“I would like to defer from giving a statement for now as we have yet to receive a copy of the order. We await further communication from the DILG,” Mayor told GMA News Online by phone.
Mayor also did not say if Purisima, who is in Saudi Arabia for an official travel, is already aware of the suspension order.
“Basta we will abide by the rules. Meron tayong legal process na kailangan sundin,” Mayor said.
Mayor said their office has also yet to receive a copy of the six-month suspension order against several other police personnel in connection with the ongoing probe on the missing AK-47 firearms.
“Wala pa kahit anong order coming from the Office of the Ombudsman or the DILG. We will act on the matter accordingly upon receipt of such order,” he said.
The complaint that triggered the Ombudsman probe on Purisima and the other officials alleged that the respondents entered into a contract with courier service WERFAST Documentary Agency in 2011 for the delivery of firearms license cards even without proper accreditation.
According to the Fact-Finding Investigation Bureau of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman, the company was accredited two years after it has inked the contract with PNP. The accreditation was approved by Meneses, then CSG head and, subsequently, concurred by Purisima in 2013.
Purisima was installed as PNP chief in December 2012.
The fact-finding investigation also uncovered that the company was incorporated only after the execution of the agreement. Its capitalization stood at P65,000.
An earlier news release from the Office of the Ombudsman said records from the Bureau of Internal Revenue had “revealed that WERFAST did not pay any taxes from 2011 to 2013.”
Meanwhile, Malacanang declined to comment on whether President Benigno Aquino III still supports Purisima, after the latter’s preventive suspension.
“The government shall abide by the decision of the Ombudsman,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told Palace reporters.
“Tayo po ay pamahalaan ng batas, hindi ng tao (We are a government of laws, not people),” he added. (MNS)