Bato gets ‘reprieve’ before going to Munti
President Duterte intends to extend the tour of duty of Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa by two or three months before sending him to the national penitentiary.
Mr. Duterte had announced late on Tuesday that Dela Rosa, who reaches the mandatory retirement of 56 on Jan. 21, would be assigned director of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), which is based at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.
But Mr. Duterte told reporters in Taguig City on Wednesday that Dela Rosa would have to remain as PNP chief “for two or three months” before he assumes his BuCor post.
The president said he needed Dela Rosa to take care of unspecified infrastructure projects in the PNP.
“Once the projects are in place or operation or functional, then he goes to the BuCor,” Mr. Duterte said.
“Who am I to refuse the President?” Dela Rosa told reporters hours before Mr. Duterte announced the extension of his term as PNP chief.
“He is my boss ever since and he will be my boss forever,” said Dela Rosa, who skipped two ranks when he was named PNP chief on July 1, 2016, or more than 17 months ago.
“The question that has been in mind: How can you solve a problem like BuCor?” he said, noting that others who tried to handle the post failed and were sacked.
The BuCor is in charge of about 41,000 inmates in the country’s seven national penitentiaries, but some of these prisons are also the bases of convicted drug traffickers.
Opposition Sen. Leila de Lima is currently on trial for supposedly abetting drug trafficking in the NBP while she was justice secretary.
Mr. Duterte himself has already appointed two men to head the agency, both of whom resigned after the resurgence of drug trafficking at the NBP.
“It is a very difficult job. [It’s] the most challenging job in government,” Dela Rosa told reporters a day before Mr. Duterte announced his new mission at the NBP.
He admits he still has no idea how to deal with the “problem like BuCor.” “The answer is: Bahala na. Come what may,” he said.
Dela Rosa will be replacing another retired police official and lawyer Benjamin de los Santos, who resigned last July amid claims that drug trafficking had returned to the NBP.
De los Santos, on the other hand, replaced retired police Chief Supt. Rolando Asuncion, who served as BuCor officer in charge after Mr. Duterte assumed the presidency in June 2016.
Asuncion, however, also resigned after only five months amid allegations of connivance with drug traffickers.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.