Bato admits intel failure, but no heads rolling
Now comes another apology from the chief of the Philippine National Police.
Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Monday admitted that the two explosions on Saturday that left two people dead and six others injured in Manila were due to “failure of intelligence” on the part of the PNP.
But Dela Rosa insisted that they were not terrorist attacks and brushed aside suggestions to have the Manila Police District (MPD) director replaced.
“We are very sorry that they (perpetrators) were able to get past us. We admit that there was an explosion and we are very sorry for that,” Dela Rosa said in a press conference. “It’s really a failure of intelligence but we are saying that our intelligence efforts are focused on threat groups like the New People’s Army, the Abu Sayyaf, and the Maute—and not on personal fights.”
“As far as the motive is concerned, we don’t see any terror angle,” the PNP chief stressed.
Dela Rosa said even the US Central Intelligence Agency, “which has a large intelligence fund,” was not able to prevent terrorist attacks in America.
“But still, we are not making any excuse. We accept that,” he said.
Why MPD chief stays
He maintained that Saturday’s explosions on Gunao and Norzagaray streets were due to fights among locals and were not related to another explosion that wounded 14 people in Quiapo on April 28, when the country was hosting the 30th Asean summit.
For Dela Rosa, the successive incidents were not enough reason to sack Chief Supt. Joel Coronel as MPD director.
“If we establish that it is really a terror attack, then even if we don’t control the minds of terrorist, I might [agree] that the district director should be relieved,” Dela Rosa said. “But we saw that this was a personal fight. Do you mean that if two other persons die [in other police districts] because of personal motives, I will also have [the chiefs] relieved? I don’t think that’s fair.”
Since his appointment as the first PNP chief under the 10-month-old Duterte administration, Dela Rosa had publicly apologized or sought “forgiveness” at least four times.
In August 2016, he said sorry after telling a group of drug dependents in Bacolod City to kill drug lords and set their houses on fire.
In December 2016, during the PNP Christmas party, Dela Rosa told the gathering that included the policemen’s families: “The gift I am asking from you is to pray for us, your loved ones, the police organization, and to ask the Lord to forgive us for those who have died in the war on drugs.”
“While I am begging for forgiveness for what is happening right now, I am also begging your indulgence to please understand if the killings will continue and we will not stop our war on drugs,” he then said.
In January this year, he apologized over the kidnapping and killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo right inside Camp Crame. “I am very sorry that this crime happened and those involved are my people.”
And on May 3, Dela Rosa apologized to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for his earlier remarks questioning the CHR’s timing when it inspected the MPD Station 1 in Tondo and discovered a cramped, secret cell for drug suspects who were being held without charges or any documentation. —WITH INQUIRER RESEARCH
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