MANILA - Malacanang defended Friday the transfer of Senior Superintendent and Task Force Tugis head Conrad Capa to Cebu, saying the promotion was meant to be a surprise.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima will replace Capa as task force head.
"From what I understand, the Chief PNP has always been the head of the task force. At least on the side of operations, it was Colonel Capa who was there. But you know, I would not put anything behind it at this time," she said.
Valte maintained Capa is supposed to be en route to a promotion. She said appointing Capa as the number 3 man in Region 7 is actually the path to promotion.
"Perhaps there were just some things that were not perhaps communicated immediately, but we trust that this matter will be resolved the soonest," she said.
She also said Capa's promotion was meant to be a surprise.
"I was speaking to the spokesperson of the PNP, si [Senior Superintendent Reuben Theodore] Sindac and he did tell me that they were actually planning a ceremony, a congratulatory ceremony for Task Force Usig."
"It was supposed to be a surprise but because of recent events that they had to say that, yes, something was indeed in the works for and then for his eventual transfer. So you know, given that they should already be communicating with Colonel Capa. We hope that really this will be put to rest. I would not see anything behind the Chief PNP's decision."
Capa earlier said he was frustrated by the decision of PNP chief Alan Purisima to appoint him deputy regional director for operations in Cebu, the third highest position in the Police Regional Office in Region 7 (Central Visayas).
His transfer came just one week after Task Force Usig captured fugitive real estate developer Delfin Lee in Manila.
Task Force Tugis is a special police unit formed to go after the country's so-called "Big 5" fugitives. The 5 include Lee, former Palawan governor Joel Reyes, former Coron mayor Mario Reyes, former general Jovito Palparan, and former Dinagat congressman Ruben Ecleo.
Capa, who currently holds the rank of police senior superintendent (equivalent to colonel in the military), said he understands that the move makes him eligible for the rank of police chief superintendent (equivalent of brigadier general in military), and will obey Purisima’s instructions.
However, he also said Purisima could have easily promoted him without his leaving Camp Crame.
"Pare-pareho tayong nagtatanong bakit nagkaganun e. Sana ho pinalamig lamig niya muna, pinalipas niya muna ang ilang linggo bago niya ako in-assign sa Cebu, para ho kasi mainit pa. May tanong pa tapos bigla akong natanggal dito," he said.
DID BINAY TALK TO PNOY?
Meantime, Valte could not say yet if Vice President and housing czar Jejomar Binay and President Aquino have already spoken about the arrest of Delfin Lee.
Binay claimed an influential person had tried to stop Lee's arrest.
Lee had been a fugitive for nearly two years after a warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of allegedly defrauding the Pag-IBIG Fund of P6.6 billion.
"That I will have to check if, I understand, that you have a particular day in mind. In the regular course of business or at least in the regular course of governance, the Vice President and the President do communicate. However, I will have to ask the President about the specific date and the topic that you are inquiring about," Valte said.