DAVAO CITY – The resignation of national police chief Alan Purisima over the botched operation in Mamasapano did not satisfy a partylist lawmaker and a Catholic priest, who both blamed President Benigno Aquino III as they urged him to resign and face a probe on this matter.
Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate reacted over the president’s televised address Friday announcing Purisima’s resignation, saying Aquino merely passed the blame and did not answer questions on how he and Purisima decided on the Mamasapano incident.
“He merely absolved himself and Purisima of direct responsibility. But he was and still is avoiding the biggest questions, like: why did he keep (Interior Secretary) Roxas and OIC PNP Chief Espina in the dark on such a big operation? Why did he allow the suspended Purisima to direct the botched operations in violation of the Ombudsman order? What is the role of the US in this bloody operation?” asked Zarate.
In his televised address, Aquino justified the January 25 operation as a legitimate action against terror, and blamed lower ranked officials for lapses in the operation resulting to casualties.
But the incident has already raised furor from the public, as well as active and retired police and military officers who questioned Purisima, whose role in the operation is “illegal” as he is suspended for facing a probe on graft charges.
Fr. Eliseo ‘Jun’ Mercado of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and a peace advocate based in Cotabato City, also questioned the legality of Purisima’s resignation.
“How can this be when existing law prohibits it? … Existing law bars a public officer who is under investigation over administrative or criminal offenses from resigning,” Mercado posted this statement in his Facebook account.
In section 12 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, it stated that: “No public officer shall be allowed to resign or retire pending an investigation, criminal or administrative, or pending a prosecution against him, for any offense under this Act or under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code on bribery.”
Both Zarate and Mercado said the president’s statement does not absolve him of blame on the incident as the president is the commander-in-chief.
Mercado did not mince words by saying: “Purisima is not the problem. It is the president that allowed the suspended Purisima to take charge and become PNoy’s playmate in the botched operation. PNoy was the major player in that game.”
Zarate also added: “it is only but right for BS Aquino to also resign his post because he was the one who allowed and ordered Purisima to continue with the bloody Oplan Wolverine and Oplan Exodus.” (davaotoday.com)