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Let’s not forget Purisima

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WHILE we are riveted to the splendor of Hacienda Binay’s Kew Gardens and air-conditioned piggery, let us not forget Philippine National Police Chief Alan Purisima and his questionable acts as a public official.

PNP Chief Alan Purisima and President AquinoThe public should be more vigilant of the Purisima case because no less than President Aquino is protecting him, vouching for the Police chief’s integrity despite blatant violation of ethical standards set for government officials.

Talking with reporters in Indonesia, Aquino said, “Natuwa ako noong sinama niya lahat sa bahay niya sa Nueva Ecija. Iyon, gawain ng tao na hindi nagtatago.”

What kind of logic is that? Allowing media to see his vacation villa in a 4.5 hectare property in Nueva Ecija does not answer the questions of how he acquired it at a cheap price and how he was able to build a nice four-bedroom vacation house complete with swimming pool, gazebo and a nipa hut out of his salary as a police officer.

It is PR.

In the same way, former Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado was out of line when he expressed sympathy for Purisima during his presentation of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s alleged 350-hectare estate in Rosario, Batangas at the Senate hearing last week.

“Kawawa naman si PNP Chief Purisima. Binabanatan ng media, 4.5 hectares lang naman ang property niya sa Nueva Ecija. Ito 350 hectares,” Mercado said.

Binay’s 350-hectare Batangas estate is mindboggling but Purisima’s 4.5 hectare vacation place is no less an anomaly if it’s proven to have been acquired illegally.

Just because one is a smaller crook does not make him not a crook. A smaller size or amount is no certification of honesty.

Aside from his Nueva Ecija property, Purisima’s conduct in the P25 million renovation of the White House in Camp Crame, the PNP chief’s official residence, also raises a lot of questions.

Sources said the White House was constructed with government money although there was no capital outlay for it in the PNP budget. It was made possible with the juggling of funds by PNP officers in charge of the agency’s finances.

When the White House renovation was being questioned by media, sources said Purisima met with his trusted officers and they agreed that the line they will give the public was: “No government money was used.”

If no government money was used, where did the P25 million for the renovation come from?

Sources said Purisima’s group had another brainstorming session and they came up with the bright idea of asking the PNP chief’s fellow Mason brothers to own up having made a donation to the PNP for the renovation of the White House.

This was not easy because lying is supposedly anathema to Freemasonry which includes Truth as one of its core principles.

One military officer who is also a Mason said they also saw a problem justifying a P25 million donation for the renovation of the White House when there were more urgent projects in the PNP like improvement of the hospital.

The group finally was able to get three contractors to agree to be identified as “donors”: Carlos Gonzales of ULTICON Builders, Alexander Lopez of Pacific Concrete Corporation, and Christopher Pastrana of CAPP Industries.

But it was a strange kind of donation consisting of “building materials” because the deeds of donation were signed only last month when the renovation had already been completed.

Purisima’s tale of the three donors also defies common sense because   those three companies are based in different parts of the country. How were they coordinated as to their participation in the renovation?

News reports later revealed that although the donors did not have projects with the PNP, as Purisima stressed, two of them – Pacific Concrete Corp. and Ulticon Builders – have contracts with Department of Public Works and Highways and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

Purisima also had another intriguing revelation when he appeared at the hearing of Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs committee chaired by Sen. Grace Poe. He admitted that he bought his brand-new Toyota Land Cruiser “Prado” for P1.5 million which has a published price of P4.5 million. He said a car dealer in Pampanga gave him a huge discount.

P3 million is no ordinary discount. It’s a huge favor. It’s a gift. Sen. Miriam Santiago went even further and called it “bribery.”

Plunder and indirect bribery charges have been filed against Purisima.

He is also being investigated by the Ombudsman for allegedly approving an irregular courier service contract with Werfast Documentary Agency in 2011.

Accepting gifts and donations is a violation of   Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act);   Republic Act No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees);   Presidential Decree 46 (Making it Punishable for Public Officials and Employees to Receive, and for Private Persons to Give, Gifts on Any Occasion, including Christmas).

Aquino’s defense of Purisima makes a mockery of his “Tuwid na Daan” mantra.