The lawyer of resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director Alan Purisima has disputed claims that he deliberately lied to President Benigno Aquino III about sending reinforcements to Special Action Force (SAF) troopers engaged in combat with Moro groups in Mamasapano.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Kristoffer James Purisima said Purisima had never thought of lying to Aquino through the years they have known each other.
“It is not in PDG Purisima’s character to relay inaccurate information to the President. Throughout their decades of professional and personal relationship, PDG Purisima’s deportment towards the President has been one of utmost candor, honesty, loyalty and respect. At no time would PDG Purisima violate the trust reposed upon him by the President,” the lawyer said.
Purisima’s camp issued the statement a day after two lawmakers who were present at the meeting called by the President in Malacañang on Monday recalled how Aquino felt he had been lied to by the then-suspended PNP chief over “Oplan Exodus,” the top secret police operation to nab high-profile terrorists.
The former PNP chief’s lawyer pointed out that when Purisima informed the President that the SAF troopers in Mamasapano ‘are supported by mechanized and artillery support,’ he relied in good faith on the information given to him at 8:03 AM by Lieutenant General Guerrero, which stated that ‘[m]eron ng coordination sa ground tank infantry and artillery support are made available.”
Purisima took Guerrero’s statement to mean that there were already coordinated efforts to use tank, infantry and artillery assets to reinforce the trapped SAF troopers.
“PDG Purisima had no reason to believe or interpret otherwise, since the request for reinforcement for our PNP SAF troopers has already been relayed by PDG Purisima to Lieutenant General Guerrero by telephone conversation as early as 6 09 AM. As he was in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija, on January 25, PDG Purisima could not have known that Major General Edmundo Pangilinan, Philippine Army 6th Infantry Division commanding general, had declined the PNP SAF’s request for even an indirect artillery fire,” his lawyer said.