Ombudsman orders recovery of ₱29M in ill-gotten wealth from ex-PNP chief

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 6) — The Ombudsman on Wednesday said it is initiating with the anti-graft court the recovery of P29.2 million in unexplained wealth of former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima and his family.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ruled on July 4 to initiate "forfeiture proceedings" against Purisima before the Sandiganbayan.

"Based on the investigation and analysis made by the Ombudsman, General Purisima and his family accumulated unexplained acquisitions totaling at least ₱29,292,459.92," the statement from the Ombudsman said.

Investigators found that Purisima's net worth for 2014 was around P16.76 million. The Ombudsman also found that Purisima and his wife Maria Ramona, an employee of the AFP Mutual Benefits Association, Inc., had a combined gross income of around P15.93 million from 2000 to 2014.

The forfeiture proceedings also include his sons Rainier Van Albert, Eumir Von Andrei, Alan Jr., and Jason Arvi.

Morales also ordered the filing of nine counts of perjury against Purisima for deliberately failing to disclose all of his properties in his SALNs for 2006 to 2014.

"It was also found that Purisima had other properties and business investments under his name and/or that of his wife or sons, which he failed to declare" in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth, the Ombudsman added.

The properties were in Aulo, Palayan City; residential land in Zaragosa, Nueva Ecija; 11 parcels of land in Talisay, Batangas; land in San Ildefonso, Ilocos Sur and firearms acquired from 2010 to 2014.

The Ombudsman also referred Purisima's acquisition of the Palayan City properties to the Department of Agriculture, as these are covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

'Lavish lifestyle'

Records from the Bureau of Immigration also showed that Purisima made frequent travels abroad from 2001 to 2014.

Purisima has a record of 19 foreign trips: 12 were official, while seven "were financed from private funds."

Meanwhile, Maria Ramona had 19 trips abroad; Rainier, 10; Eumir, four; Alan Jr., five and Jayson, seven.

The "travels show that they lived a lavish lifestyle which is not commensurate with their declared earnings and financial resources," the Ombudsman's statement said.

'Afterthought' amendments

The Ombudsman also found that the time it took for Purisima to amend his income tax returns (ITR) from 2004 to 2013 meant the move was "a mere afterthought" in response to a lifestyle check by the Fact-Finding Investigation Bureau of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Office.

It noted the amendment was completed on November 18, 2014, or 24 days after the Bureau of Internal Revenue issued a certification to comply with a subpoena from the Ombudsman. "The fact that he took so long to declare these other income casts doubt as to their existence," it said.

In amending his tax returns, the Ombudsman said Purisima used different BIR forms for business, profession and compensation income, as well as declaring sales, revenues from businesses, professional income, and combined net taxable income for himself and his wife.

"A closer scrutiny of respondent P/DG Purisima's amended ITRs also reveals they are replete with badges of falsity and misdeclaration," Morales said.

SAF 44, anomalous courier deal

The Ombudsman's bid to recover his ill-gotten wealth is on top of a litany of other charges Purisima faces.

He faces charges for his involvement in the death of 44 members of an elite unit of the Philippine National Police in a botched operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in January 2015 that was meant to capture Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias "Marwan."

Aside from the 44 police commandos, 17 rebels and at least five civilians were also killed. The clash violated a ceasefire deal with Moro rebels.

The day before the clash's second anniversary, the Ombudsman charged Purisima with usurpation of authority for being actively involved in decision-making before and during the encounter, despite the Ombudsman placing him under preventive suspension in December 2014.

The suspension was due to an allegedly anomalous 2011 deal involving WerFast Documentary Agency, a courier company tasked with delivering gun licenses directly to applicants.

Purisima was dismissed as PNP Chief on June 2015.

In May 2016, the Ombudsman also charged Purisima with graft for conspiring with other police officials to award a contract to WerFast without public bidding.