EX-Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima has found a defender in Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane, who believed that the former should be allowed to finish what he started–that is, the Mamasapano mission–even while he was suspended.
Ebdane, himself an ex-PNP chief under the Arroyo administration, said that Purisima initiated the operation a couple of years ago and understandably wanted to see it through.
“The initial information was fed to Alan Purisima about two years ago. He initiated the operation,” the politiko was quoted by the Philippine Star as saying.
The Mamasapano, Maguindanao operation was carried out last January 25 by the Special Action Force (SAF), the PNP’s elite counter-terrorism unit. The main target of the operation, Malaysian bomb-maker Zulkifli Bin Hir alias “Marwan”, was neutralized but at the cost of 44 SAF lives after they were overrun by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels.
A longtime friend of President Benigno Aquino III’s, Purisima has been assailed for directing the covert mission despite being suspended as PNP chief by the Office of the Ombudsman for corruption charges late last year.
“He is suspended but does that mean the operation should also be suspended? No, even ordinary people should be involved until the end (of the operation) if he is the conduit,” said Ebdane, who served as SAF commander from 1989 to 1991.
Moreover, Ebdane lauded Purisima for “taking responsibility” over the Mamasapano carnage despite still being under suspension. The latter ultimately resigned as PNP chief over the controversy, although he remains with the force as its lone four-star general.
The governor said Purisima should not be judged until after everything is cleared up about the bloody clash. “Let us investigate the incident but let’s not point fingers or vilify one another.” (Randy K. Ortega)