'Despite chief's suspension, PNP morale very high'
MANILA, Philippines – The Officer-in-Charge of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday, December 12, told reporters that the suspension of PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima did not leave a gap in the organization.
“Dire-diretso lang naman ang trabaho (Our work continues) [even] with the current situation. Hindi naman talaga napuputol para sa amin eh (For us, there is no gap). The organization is built in such a way that if one is preventively suspended, the next in line fills in the gap,” Deputy Director General Espina, the current Deputy Director for Operations, said in a press briefing.
In fact, Espina said, morale “remains to be very high” in the 150,000-strong police force.
Purisima was ordered suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman as it investigates an alleged anomalous deal between the PNP and courier service company Werfast.
The PNP chief has denied any wrongdoing and had said that the Ombudsman’s probe would eventually “vindicate” him.
As OIC, Espina has the “full powers” of the PNP chief, including the authority to reappoint police officials when deemed necessary, according to officials from the National Police Commission (Napolcom).
The Napolcom has yet to clarify, however, if the OIC’s mandate includes approving the financial deals of the PNP.
The PNP is gearing up for two major events in 2015: Pope Francis’ visit and the APEC meeting. Espina said the PNP is ready to secure these special events on top of its regular duties.
“Sa kabuuan, ang PNP ninyo ay hindi natutulog, hindi nagpapahinga para labanan ang krimen (The PNP will not sleep, it will not rest in its fight against crime)," he said.
Espina is technically the PNP’s 3rd most powerful official but was appointed OIC since the PNP’s number 2, Deputy Director General Felipe Rojas, Jr retired last week.
The PNP’s OIC is a familiar face to the public, particularly to the media.
Espina was once the PNP’s spokesman and used to head the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) before he was appointed to the PNP’s command group in September 2013 as the chief of Directorial Staff. – Rappler.com