Bato dela Rosa eyes reelection despite controversial ICC 'drug war' probe | Inquirer News

Bato dela Rosa eyes reelection despite controversial ICC ‘drug war’ probe

By: - Reporter / @BPinlacINQ
/ 09:56 AM July 19, 2023

FILE PHOTO: Sen. Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa. (Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa has decided to seek another term in the Senate, believing that an international court’s “drug war” investigation may even deliver more votes for him.

According to dela Rosa, “many Filipinos are also angered” by the “interference” of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is set to continue its investigation of drug war killings during the Duterte administration when the senator served as head of the Philippine National Police.


“Yes, yes. I’m ready,” he replied when asked if he intended to run in the upcoming midterm elections.


If the people still want to vote for me, I’m willing to serve. But if you’ll just base it on my desire, I’m still very strong. I’m still OK. I can still go for another six years. I’m still capable,” dela Rosa also said partly in Filipino in an interview with ANC’s Headstart.

READ: ICC rejects PH appeal to stop drug war probe

Dela Rosa said he knows the ICC probe will affect his reelection bid. However, he asserted: “Since I am identified with the former President, I cannot get their votes. The votes I will get are those in support of [former] President Duterte. And the support may even grow since many Filipinos are also angered by [ICC’s] interference with our sovereignty, so its impact in my reelection bid may even be positive.”

The senator reiterated that the drug war was launched “to protect the Filipino people from the drug menace, especially our youth” – and not for their personal gains. He likewise maintained that he “does not care” whatever future awaits him because of his role in the brutal campaign against illegal drugs.

“They can judge me however they want. If they want to persecute me then, go ahead. I have no problem with that as long as I did it not for my sake but for the country,” dela Rosa added.

READ: Dela Rosa, ‘tokhang’ enforcer, unfazed by tribunal decision


Dela Rosa said it’s “too early” to discuss his reelection platform, but it will focus on public order and the anti-drug campaign.

“I’ll only focus on that, because those are my only strengths. That’s the field I’m exposed to, so I’ll only focus on that,” he said.

Dela Rosa also said that Senators Bong Go and Francis Tolentino are in talks to run again in the midterm elections. Former President Rodrigo Duterte chairs the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, which includes Dela Rosa, Go, and Tolentino.

Dela Rosa and Go were Duterte’s long-time aides. Dela Rosa was Davao City police chief when Duterte was mayor of the city in Mindanao. Duterte appointed dela Rosa as PNP chief when he became president in 2016, the same year they launched the bloody drug war dubbed “Oplan Tokhang.”

READ: Unfazed Bato dela Rosa, Rodrigo Duterte on looming ICC ruling: ‘Walang kaba, walang pakialam’

Duterte and dela Rosa are among the accused in the crimes against humanity complaint before the ICC.

Aside from the nationwide war on drugs, the ICC is also investigating the so-called Davao Death Squad, a group allegedly behind vigilante killings of drug suspects in Duterte’s hometown.

In 2018, Duterte announced that the Philippines would be withdrawing from the Rome Statue, an international treaty that established the ICC, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands. The Philippines’ withdrawal took effect a year later, or on March 17, 2019.

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Nonetheless, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber and even the Philippine Supreme Court have said that the government is still obliged to cooperate with the investigation because Article 127 of the Rome Statute states that all proceedings done before the withdrawal remain valid.

TAGS: Bato Dela Rosa, Drug war, Election, ICC, Politics

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