PNP chief faces graft, plunder complaint over mansion, 'White House'

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima faces graft, plunder and indirect bribery complaints over an allegedly undervalued property and the renovation of a multi-million residence at the general police headquarters in Camp Crame.

The Coalition of Filipino Consumers (CFC) filed on Monday, September 22, a complaint alleging that Purisima was not entirely truthful in declaring his Nueva Ecija residence to be valued at a mere P3.75 million (about $70,000). 

The graft complaint is based on the allegedly misdeclared asset, while the plunder and indirect bribery charges are based on Purisima's so-called "White House" inside Camp Crame, Quezon City.

"That his admission alone of the fact that he received money from his Mason brothers as a means or fund for the renovation of the residence of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief is a clear case of accepting gifts by reason of office and/or position," the complaint read. The "White House" is the official residence of the PNP chief.

The building's renovation, which the PNP said amounted to P12 million (about $270,000), was funded with the help of Purisima's Mason friends, PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac previously said.

The complainant CFC, represented by Perfecto Jaime Tagalog, Michael Amaro, and Gerald Hidalgo, believes the Ombudsman would be able to unearth other illegal transactions and acts committed by Purisima in the course of its investigation.

The CFC is a group of consumers which claims to have 600,000 members nationwide consisting mostly of public transport drivers, rank-and-file government employees, police officers, lawyers, and even students.

Misdeclared property?

Also attached to the 5-page complaint detailing the 3 charges are photos of the allegedly undervalued property of Purisima and his wife located in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija, which complainants claim they visited themselves.

They, however, were merely able to see it 20 meters away.

While details as to why the property is undervalued was lacking in the complaint itself, CFC Secretary General Perfecto Jaime Tagalog said in an interview that the property was assessed by an architect who was likewise a CFC member.

Based on this architect's estimates, the house and lot costs around P30 million to P50 million using present value. 

Tagalog refused to name the architect, as he said the coalition member might be put in a compromising position.

Tagalog claimed the charges are not politically motivated but are driven by the search for truth. "Ito po ay nais po namin makita yun pong katotohonan (We desire to see the truth)," he said in an interview.

He likewise denied claims by critics that the coalition intends to run as a party-list in the 2016 polls. For its funding, Tagalog said the group gathers donations from its members and conducts a monthly food caravan.

An appointee of President Benigno Aquino III, Purisima served as the close-in aide of Aquino when his mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, was president from 1986 to 1992. 

There have been recent calls for his resignation in the wake of high-profile crimes, but the President defended his track record as PNP chief. 

Lost SALN?

In an interview with reporters about Purisima's charges, Senator Grace Poe said a public official's Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) must be easily accessible.

The complaint against Purisima raised the issue of the absence of his SALN in the Office of the President.

"Lahat ng na-appoint na government officials ay may SALN sa Office of the President. Nang-galing din ako sa posisyon na iyan at talagang requirement iyon (All appointed government officials have their SALNs at the Office of the President. I came from that position, and that is really a requirement)," Poe said, who was the former head of the Movie and Television Regulatory Board Commission.

CFC also does not have a copy of Purisima's SALN but based the supposedly undervalued declaration on Purisima's "belatedly presented" record. – Rappler.com