By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News | 11/15/2012 7:02 PM
TAGAYTAY - President Benigno Aquino III only has praises for Philippine National Police (PNP) Deputy Director General Alan Purisima, who is expected to fill in the post that will be vacated by PNP chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome.
Aquino said he has known Purisima since he served as executive officer to the special reaction unit of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) during the time of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino.
He vouched for Purisima's integrity and described him as professional and competent.
"Ito 'yung napaka-professional sa trabaho, never nagkaroon ng kwestyon na naghahanapbuhay sa pwesto. 'Yung competency naman, he has undergone numerous trainings both local and foreign. Marami na rin siyang pinagdaanang pagsubok, for instance, 'yung mga kudeta noong panahon ng mommy.”
He said Purisima was able to establish a reputation for the unit that it is not weak. “After the '89 coup, wala nang nagtangka ulit.”
In a separate interview with ANC, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas said Purisima will likely be the next PNP chief “unless the president directs me, otherwise that's the direction its headed.”
He added: “The leadership decision has already been made so we can all focus on doing our jobs rather than manipulate the selection process in favor of one group or another.”
Meanwhile, Aquino added that Purisima delivers and does not draw attention to himself.
"Andaming listahan ng accomplishments na nagawa. Maayos kausap. Hindi masyadong importante 'yung binibida ang sarili, 'yung nagtataas ng sariling bangko. Pero klaro, kapag nagbitaw ng salita ang resulta na aking hinahanap ay nakakamtan," he said.
Aquino also found a loyal friend in Purisima, who did not avoid being associated with him while he was in the opposition.
"Kahit noong panahon na ako'y nasa oposisyon-medyo matagal-tagal 'yun-hindi magandang makitang kasama ako lalo na sa mga taong nakasalalay ang kanilang advancement at promotion-hindi siya nawala bilang kasamahan, bilang kaibigan, bilang katulong sa bansa, sa mga kailangan ng bansa. Klaro ang direksyon. Andaming qualifications. Palagay ko 'pag nagkaroon ng turnover ceremonies, doon ko na ililista isa-isa," he said.
Plans for Purisma to take over while Bartolome goes on "non-duty status" until his actual retirement in March are likely to push through. Aquino did not specify exactly when this will happen.
This arrangement allowing Bartolome to stay on will let him enjoy full retirement benefits. "Ang pagkaka-explain sa akin, it is something like terminal leave. So he is not required to render duty but he [is] still carried in the rolls. Para ma-maximize naman niya 'yung entitlements niya under the separation benefits, retirement benefits. 'Pag napaaga, baka may diminution."
He said he first discussed this arrangement with Bartolome "a month or two months ago."
Aquino stressed the importance of having a new PNP chief to make adequate preparations in securing the 2013 elections.
"Klaro sa kanya 'yun. Nabanggit nga 'nya, sabi niya para naman makuha naman niya ang kanyang retirement benefits, baka pwede actual retirement on his birthday, non-duty status entitles him to reach that retirement period without having the problem of changing leaders at a time when there's a lot of pressure on the PNP," he said.