Dec 112014
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas has ordered the National Police Commission to define the powers of an acting police chief, following the suspension of Philippine National Police chief Director  General Alan Purisima and the retirement of his supposed successor.

Purisima’s six-month suspension and the retirement of Deputy Director General Felipe Rojas last week left Leonardo Espina, deputy chief for operations, as officer-in-charge of the PNP.

The appointment raised questions as to what Espina’s functions will cover.

“The Napolcom will soon issue a statement to determine the extent of powers of him as officer-in-charge,” Roxas, who as DILG secretary has direct supervision of the PNP, said Thursday.

He said Espina could carry out duties that come with the position, particularly with concerns on law enforcement, like the bombing of a passenger bus in Bukidnon province. He said can send additional intelligence personnel to the area or replace the provincial director if the need arises.

“The power of an OIC is very wide to respond on the principal mandate of anti-criminality,” Roxas said as he assured the public that the PNP will not be crippled by the suspension.

The Office of the Ombudsman ordered Purisima’s preventive suspension last week in connection with a supposed anomalous contract the PNP entered into with a courier service in 2011.

Purisima’s suspension comes without pay amid administrative investigation, it said.

At present, the suspended PNP chief is facing two plunder complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman over his alleged hidden wealth. He is currently under fire for his sprawling resthouse in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija, and the allegedly questionable renovation of the PNP chief’s official quarters inside Camp Crame. —Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/KBK, GMA News

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