President Aquino urged to name Philippine National Police chief

President Aquino urged to name Philippine National Police chief
Philippine President Benigno Aquino's said the Philippines was keen to contribute to regional security, particularly through agreements such as Edca.

Senate President Franklin Drilon called on President Aquino to appoint a permanent chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), saying this was an urgent matter.

The last permanent PNP chief was Director General Alan Purisima, who was suspended by the Ombudsman in December after he and other police officers were charged with corruption.

Purisima's six-month suspension ends this month, and he is expected to report for duty on June 10 but no longer as PNP chief. He resigned as PNP chief in February for his alleged involvement in a botched operation of the Special Action Force (SAF) where 44 commandos died in clashes with Moro guerrillas in Mindanao.

After Purisima's resignation, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina has been the PNP's officer in charge. Espina retires in July.

Drilon said the President should appoint a new PNP chief "as soon as possible."

"I agree it's urgent, and a new PNP chief should be appointed because Purisima has resigned as PNP chief," Drilon said at the Kapihan sa Senado forum.

4-star chief

Purisima is the only four-star general in the 150,000-strong force.

"There is no power while he is waiting for his official designation," Espina said of Purisima. "He may have the rank, but he has no position yet… Our authority is by virtue of position."

The Ombudsman ordered Purisima's preventive suspension last December pending an investigation into alleged anomalies in a 2011 service contract for the delivery of gun licenses with Werfast Documentary Agency, a private company .

Purisima remained a member of the PNP, but received no salaries or benefits while suspended. He quit as PNP chief two months later, after the SAF ambush.

Since his preventive suspension is ending, he is entitled to again receive his salary and benefits until his mandatory retirement on Nov. 23.

It is up to the National Police Commission to recommend a possible designation for Purisima, if any.

Aside from Purisima, former Central Luzon regional director Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta and 10 other police officials are expected to be back on duty on June 10.

Petrasanta, former Firearms and Explosives Office chief, was placed under preventive suspension by the Ombudsman for the disappearance of 1,004 AK-47 assault rifles. The guns were allegedly sold to the New People's Army.

Petrasanta next?

Petrasanta served in the Presidential Security Group during the term of former President Corazon Aquino. He is close to the Aquino sisters and is seen as the next PNP chief.

Espina said the promotions board would tackle the case of Petrasanta and the other suspended officers to determine whether they would return to their previous assignments.

Like Purisima, Petrasanta will be required to report to the Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit while he is awaiting a new designation.


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