Strip Purisima of his 4th star

THE undated resignation letter of Purisima was a resignation from the position of Chief Philippine National Police (CPNP) and not a resignation from the service.

THE undated resignation letter of Purisima was a resignation from the position of Chief Philippine National Police (CPNP) and not a resignation from the service.

This means he remains in the roster of the PNP until he reaches the PNP’s mandatory retirement age of fifty-six (56). Purisima will reach 56 only on November 21. And since only the CPNP can have four stars, there can be no full time CPNP until Purisima retires or the 4th star is stripped of Purisima. Purisima has shamed the institution and the uniform he wears, he should be stripped of his 4th star now.

This is unlike the case of former PNP chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome, who retired in March 2013 but went on a “no-duty” status before the end of 2012 to pave the way for an early transition to a new PNP boss. Purisima took over from Bartolome. The reason given to the early exit of Bartolome was the mid-term elections of May 2013. The “no-duty” plan resulted in Bartolome relinquishing his administrative and operational duties to a new PNP chief before the year ended. Bartolome continued to hold on to his rank as a 4-star director general until his retirement in March. Bartolome retired, Purisima resigned.

Purisima is a unique case because he is serving a preventive suspension by the Ombudsman and he resigned because of violating such order and getting himself involved in the planning and operations of Oplan Exodus in Mamasapano. Purisima violated the Ombudsman’s order, had 44 SAF killed and “advised” knowingly and willfully BSA3 on Oplan Exodus despite his status. What aggravates Purisima’s advice was that he never had any assignment in any part of Mindanao in his entire career. Purisima had no deep knowledge of the terrain, the people and the customs and traditions in Mindanao.

Clearly, the appointment of Deputy Chief Leo Espina was merely as an officer-in-charge and not as acting chief, unlike DOH Secretary Janet Garin who was given an acting appointment. Clearly, the intention was, after serving the preventive suspension, Purisima would be back at the helm to finish his term. Unfortunately, the Rule of Law was compromised because of the Barkada mentality that has pervaded the bureaucracy. That Purisima was closed to the appointing authority was a major factor and that no one from among the official family of the security cluster can tell the King of 44 lives lost was telling. No one but no one can ask BSA3 much less inform him of the suicide mission that speaks so much of the kind of government we now have today. Whatever happened to the Liberal Party stalwarts who convinced Sen. Aquino to run for the presidency? You can’t even be a patriot to the men in uniform and to this country, truly you will reap what you sow.

Has any general been stripped of his star? There seems to be none in the Philippines. But in recent memory, there was former head of the US Africa Command, US Armed Forces, Gen. William “Kip” Ward. He was “stripped of a star by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta after an internal investigation revealed that he had inappropriately spent tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money for lavish personal vacations and expenses.”

Gen. Ward, an African American, had already stepped down as head of the new Africa Command but he was stopped from retiring—after he had already held a retirement ceremony in April 2011—by Panetta until the Army investigation was completed.

A report by the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office, released in August, accused Ward of misusing his position, his subordinates’ time, government funds, and rental vehicles. Ward allowed unauthorized people, including family members, to fly on government planes, and spent excessive amounts of money on hotel rooms, transportation and other expenses when he traveled as head of Africa Command. The general even allowed his wife to use military vehicles to shop and visit spas, and he billed the government for a refueling stop overnight in Bermuda, where the couple stayed in a $750 suite—for a trip whose cost exceeded $10,700 for his party of 12, staff and the aircrew. In addition, in January 2011 Ward allegedly took an 11-day trip to Washington and Atlanta with an entourage of 13 military and civilian personnel which cost $129,000, and he conducted less than three days of official business, the report states.

After the release of the report, Panetta stripped Ward of a star so that he will now retire as a three-star lieutenant general. He will also have to repay the government $82,000.

We want justice for SAF44 but we also want Purisima to be remembered as the 4-star CPNP whose star was removed because of failure to follow the laws of the land, for acting without authority and for putting to spot the institution of the presidency.

As to De Lima saying there is no chain of command in the police, it’s like saying the Justice Secretary is not aware of basic public administration principles. The Constitution clearly states that the President is the Commander in Chief of all state armed forces and the civilian government. Basic organization and management class would show this to the good secretary. When one draws an organizational chart, it informs the reader on the flow of instructions and information. It tells the reader on the vertical and horizontal relationships of each box. As former President Fidel V. Ramos emphasized, “I said it before, there are many chains of command—military, police, civilian, NGO, the media. The military [chain of command] is a bit different from the PNP chain of command, but both have one characteristic—the President is the Commander in Chief.”

Mr. President, “a man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it is committing another mistake.” 44 lives gone, peace process stalled and you risk ending as a footnote. The signs on the wall are not good. Honor your oath. Honor, by telling the truth, the men you lost.

About the Author
Malou Tiqiua is the Founder/General Manager of PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. A noted political management expert in the Philippines and Asia, she brings over 20 years of professional experience in public, private and the academe combined. Author of the comprehensive book on electoral campaigns in the Philippines, "Campaign Politics", Malou is a graduate of the University of the Philippines with a Political Science degree and a Master of Public Administration. She completed her second master's degree (MA in Political Management) from the Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University.
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