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Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago on Thursday reprimanded ex-Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima for "meddling" with Oplan Exodus even while serving his preventive suspension.
During the Senate hearing on the bloody Mamasapano incident, an impassioned Santiago tolld Purisima: "Kung hindi ka siguro nakisali doon, buhay pa sila," referring to the 44 PNP-Special Action Force commandos killed in the Mamasapano raid on January 25.
"Bakit ka salita nang salita? Bakit hindi ka nanahimik sa estate mo sa Nueva Ecija?" Santiago scolded Purisima. "Under preventive suspension ka, nakikialam ka... Biro mo, apatnapung tao ang namatay."
Santiago's first question zeroed in on Purisima "performing the functions of your office albeit in a surreptitious manner," even reading the law dictionary definition of the word suspension.
She asked: "I insist on the more important question: What made you violate the terms of your preventive suspension?"
"Kung naka-preventive suspension ka, hindi ka pupunta-punta sa office mo. You don't even call your colleagues! You just sit there quietly and then when it's time to report back to office, you go back as commanded," said Santiago, a former regional trial court judge.
She added: "Pero ikaw, masyado kang busy -- preventively suspended ka, masyado kang maraming kinakausap at tungkol pa naman sa official and military operation."
During the hearing, Purisima owned accountability for what happened in Mamasapano, though he dodged the question as to who gave the direct order for Oplan Exodus to begin.
As in his response during the first Senate hearing on Monday, Purisima said, "Your honor, when I made remarks regarding what was being taken by P/Dir. Napeñas, it was mere (sic) an advice."
This set off Santiago again, who said, "Ah, don't quibble with me! I told you I've memorized the law dictionary. 'I only advised, I did not order.' Really?"
At the Senate hearing on Tuesday, Napeñas said Aquino and Purisima "implied" that the operation should continue.
"If there was a direct order or approval of the President, there was none. That's really the truth," Napeñas told the Senate panel. "But then, the two occasions that we had a mission update, it could be implied or a tacit approval that the mission is a go."
The relieved PNP-SAF chief further recounted in a House hearing on Wednesday that during their meeting with Aquino at Bahay Pangarap on January 9, he and SAF Intelligence Group Director Sr. Supt. Fernando Mendez left the room while Purisima had a private conversation with Aquino.
Purisima was then already serving a six-month preventive suspension ordered by the Ombudsman in December last year over an allegedly questionable contract the PNP entered into with a courier service.
“Paglabas ni General Purisima ay sinabi niya sa akin, ‘Huwag mo na muna sabihan ang dalawa (Roxas and Espina). Ako na na ang bahala kay Gen. Catapang,’” Napeñas recounted.
Napeñas further said: “Knowing 'yung closeness ni Police Director General Purisima with the President, that kind of words put us in very volatile, in a bad situation, your honor."
Purisima stepped down as PNP chief last week, citing the Mamasapano controversy as his reason. — RSJ, GMA News