President Benigno Aquino III was merely telling the truth when he admitted having felt lied to by former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima after the latter sent wrong information about the Jan. 25 police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Thursday.
Drilon dismissed the statement of Purisima’s camp that the then-PNP chief lied to Aquino when he texted him inaccurate information regarding the deployment of reinforcements to the Special Action Force (SAF) troopers trapped in a firefight against Moro rebels.
“I would rather believe the President than Purisima. The President said na nagsinungaling siya, it’s the word of the President against Purisima’s. I would rather believe the President,” he said.
Lawmakers who were present at the meeting the President convened last Monday quoted Aquino as saying that he felt he had been “lied to” by Purisima regarding “Oplan Exodus,” the SAF operation to nab terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman.
But the erstwhile PNP chief’s lawyer said Purisima could not have brought himself to break the President’s trust by lying, especially since they have known each other personally and professionally for a long time.
Purisima resigned following the flak he received for his involvement in “Oplan Exodus.” He was already suspended at the time the mission was carried out.
Drilon has urged the Office of the Ombudsman to study Purisima’s possible liability for usurpation of functions since he took part in the operation and continued to provide instructions about it even while he was under suspension.