Purisima arrested at airport, posts bail

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star
Purisima arrested at airport, posts bail

MANILA, Philippines - Dismissed Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima posted bail at the Sandiganbayan yesterday after he was arrested at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) over charges of graft.

He arrived at the anti-graft court at around 3:15 p.m. escorted by Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) operatives.

Purisima went straight to the Sandiganbayan Sixth Division in Quezon City to undergo processing or booking procedure and posted the P30,000 bail for the graft charges filed against him and several other police officers in connection with the alleged anomalous courier service deal that the PNP entered into in 2011.

His lawyer Ponciano Corpus arrived earlier at the anti-graft court to prepare the former PNP chief for the posting of bail, which will grant him temporary liberty while undergoing criminal trial.

Purisima and his co-accused will be arraigned June 20 on charges of graft.

The Sandiganbayan issued an arrest warrant against him and other respondents to the case on Thursday after finding probable cause for the issuance of the same.

Magistrates of the anti-graft court junked his motion for judicial determination of probable cause, which was rendered moot by the ruling.

The Sandiganbayan said the grounds or arguments relied upon in the pleading “are matters of defense” and are “best raised and threshed out during trial.”

Purisima is accused of involvement in an anomalous courier service contract for firearms licenses with Werfast Documentation Agency Inc. five years ago. The contract was deemed overpriced and questionable.

The Office of the Ombudsman filed criminal charges against him and a handful of other former police officials led by then Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) chief Raul Petrasanta.

Other respondents to the case were able to avoid being arrested by posting bail as soon as the criminal case was filed and shortly after the arrest warrants were issued against them. 

Purisima was whisked to the Sandiganbayan after he surrendered to agents of the CIDG National Capital Region at the NAIA Terminal 3 after his arrival from Butuan City.

“Let’s go,” Purisima told Supt. Tom Ibay, deputy chief of the CIDG-NCR, who served the arrest warrant issued against him by the Sandiganbayan.

Wearing a gray t-shirt, walking shorts and sunglasses with a bull cap covering his head, Purisima was led into a waiting vehicle of the CIDG and brought to the Sandiganbayan where he posted bail.

Purisima was on vacation in Butuan City when the Sandiganbayan issued an arrest order against him and 10 others due to the anomalous gun license courier service.

Upon learning about his arrest warrant, Purisima contacted Senior Supt. Ronald Lee, head of the CIDG-NCR, and arranged his surrender, including his posting bail at the Sandiganbayan.

The former PNP chief relayed to Lee the schedule of his plane’s arrival and CIDG agents were posted at NAIA Terminal 3.

Upon disembarking from the plane, Purisima was escorted by agents from the Aviation Security Group who turned him over to the CIDG agents at about 1:45 p.m., said Lee.

The arrest of Purisima saddened his former subordinates but they are duty-bound to enforce the law.

“It pains us that we have to arrest a former boss but we have to do our job. We are mandated to enforce the law without fear or favor. If we turn our back and did not arrest him, we will be accused of being biased. We are all professionals to do our mandated task,” said CIDG chief Director Victor Deona.

“He did not resist arrest. Our men approached him and informed him about the order of the anti-graft court and he voluntarily went with them and the group directly went to the Sandiganbayan,” Deona added.

Purisima and his co-accused were indicted for violation of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, over the contract for the delivery of gun licenses nationwide that the PNP granted to Werfast Documentation Agency Inc.

Deona said the case against Purisima and several police officers is bailable and he does not expect the former PNP chief to be brought to the PNP Custodial Center.  With Non Alquitran, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Jaime Laude

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