Cover-up in offing — Binay

VICE President Jejomar Binay slammed relieved national police chief Alan Purisima on Saturday and said his explanations on Friday only raised more questions than answers and may be the start of a cover up of the botched police operation.

“What Purisima said – and didn’t say – has only stoked the fears of our countrymen that the cover up of the truth may have begun,” Binay said in a statement.

Stressing the need for the creation of an independent fact-finding commission, Binay said Purisima only vaguely denied his participation in the planning and implementation of the police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, or after 12 days.

“General Purisima’s pronouncements directly contradict the statements made by the former SAF commander and other sources who earlier claimed that Purisima was heavily involved in the planning and implementation of the bloody operation even though he was suspended,” Binay said.

“If he did not commit any transgression as he claims to be, then why did he resign from his post?” Binay asked.

He said the status of Purisima has also raised several questions because it was not clarified that Purisima cannot resign from the police force because of a pending corruption complaints against him.

“One of the penalties imposed by law on government employees is the forfeiture of their benefits from the government. Thus, it should be clarified and emphasized that as long as the investigation is ongoing, General Purisima should not be allowed to claim his benefits,’ the vice president said.

Binay said several investigations are set to be conducted and absence of an independent and impartial fact-finding commission should encourage Filipinos to monitor the proceedings to ensure that it will be transparent, fair and non-partisan even if the personality involved is a close friend of the President.

“It is also paramount that the families of the policemen who perished in Mamasapano are properly informed of the entirety of what really transpired in the said police operation,” he said.

“Those responsible for the sad fate of the Fallen 44 should be made accountable,” Binay said.

“I would like to reiterate my position that to achieve this end, the investigation must be transparent, fair, non-partisan and truly independent. It is only through such an investigation that we can assure our people that the Fallen 44 will be given justice that they deserved,” he added.

Binay, a lawyer, said Purisima’s resignation does not absolve him of any liability over the Mamasapano incident.

President Benigno Aquino III accepted Purisima’s resignation on Friday, but again blamed sacked Special Action Force head Getulio Napeñas for the “ill-planned” operation in Mamasapano that led to the death of 44 police commandos. 

In his address to the nation Friday evening, the President said he was conducting his own investigation and he found that Napeñas could have stopped the operation on three occasions.

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