Miriam tells Aquino: ‘Kick PNP chief upstairs’

'ORDINARY.' The main house inside PNP chief Director Genera Alan Purisima's 4.7-hectare property in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

'ORDINARY.' The main house inside PNP chief Director Genera Alan Purisima's 4.7-hectare property in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija.

Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – If he doesn’t want to go on leave or resign, Director General Alan Purisima should be kicked "upstairs" or be given a “position which is incompatible with his present office as PNP [Philippine National Police] chief,” Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said on Friday, October 10. 

In a keynote speech during the 54th Annual National Convention of the Philippine Association of Real Estate Boards, Santiago touched on topics ranging from amendments to the Real Estate Service Act of the Philippines, to “cancers” of Philippine society, and Purisima.

“I have to be impressed with the defense made by Mr. Purisima. I have never before met someone who seems to have such a small mind inside such a big head,” said Santiago.

The PNP chief faces at least 3 graft, plunder and indirect bribery charges before the Ombudsman for an allegedly sketchy deal inside Camp Crame, the construction of his new official residence, and his supposedly under-declared house and lot in Nueva Ecija.  

On Thursday, October 9, the Ombudsman also created a special panel to investigate Purisima over the alleged misuse of gunowners' license fees.

Earlier, Santiago said it was difficult to travel from her home in Quezon City to the convention venue in Muntinlupa City. “Ang mga pulis pala ngayon, kunwari nagbibilad sa initan pero may 5 hectare estate, complete with swimming pool. Naka-landscape pa,” she said, referring to the PNP chief’s controversial property in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija. (IN PHOTOS: Inside the PNP chief's 'ordinary' home)

(Police now pretend to work under the intense heat but really, they have a 5-hectare estate with a swimming pool. It’s even landscaped!) 

Despite calls from various groups and public officials for him to leave or resign, Purisima said he would not step down. His fiercest defender is President Benigno Aquino III himself, a friend of Purisima’s since 1987.  (READ: Aquino, Purisima and the past that binds)

Options for Purisima

“He refuses to go on a leave of absence, this igniting suspicions that he will use all the powers and prerogatives of a PNP chief to silence his critics,” added Santiago. 

The PNP’s top officials are set to undergo a lifestyle check through a team composed of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the National Police Commission (Napolcom), and the Bureau of Internal Revenue. The rules of the check, however, have yet to finalized. 

If Purisima doesn’t want to leave, said Santiago, Aquino should instead assign him elsewhere – any position, as long as it doesn’t have anything to do with hearing the PNP. 

“President Aquino should appoint Purisima as a member of the Napolcom, or as an assistant secretary of either the DILG and [Department of National Defense]… That’s the best way, under the circumstances, to get rid of a suspicious character,” she said.  

“In other words, President Aquino, please kick Purisima upstairs so that he will leave the PNP alone.” 

Purisima has been chief of the 150,000-strong PNP since December 2012 and is not set to retire until November 2015 when he turns 56. 

Santiago in July this year announced she was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. Prior to her speech, Santiago admitted there were periods when she would feel weak, but that 90% of cancer cells have since been eradicated. – Rappler.com