Dela Rosa admits PNP ‘reforms’ failed
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Ronald dela Rosa admitted on Saturday that the “reforms” he implemented while he was Philippine National Police chief did not work and the PNP leadership will have to “go back to the drawing board.”
“We must go back to the drawing board to find out the root cause of these happenings. We have to sift through each and every case, and look at the context of each case,” he said.
Dela Rosa, now chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, himself failed to “sift through each” of the more than 6,000 killings that occurred under the Oplan Double Barrel and Oplan Tokhang that he conceived and implemented.
In a radio interview, Dela Rosa also admitted that the string of controversies now hounding the PNP has deeply smeared the police service and eroded public confidence in the police force.
He also admitted realizing that doubling police officers’ basic pay failed to deter corruption and other abuses committed by PNP personnel.
Just this week, Dela Rosa again led an investigation of the Aug. 2 killing in Navotas City of 17-year-old Jerhode “Jemboy” Baltazar who was shot dead by six police officers who claimed that they mistook the teenager for another suspect.
He said the committee’s initial findings suggest that the police used “excessive force” in the killing of Baltazar, which supposedly stemmed from their failure to instill in their minds the PNP rules of engagement during police operations.
“One of the recommendations is for the PNP to now focus on the force continuum and make sure that it allots a considerable number of hours on this,” he said.
Also, Dela Rosa’s committee has yet to release its report on an earlier investigation of the involvement of PNP officials in the October 2022 seizure of more than a ton of illegal drugs, but a portion of the seized contraband was supposedly given out as a reward to unnamed police officials.
It had also just wrapped up an inquiry into the involvement of police officers in the alleged coverup in the murders of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and Vice Mayor Rommel Alameda of Aparri, Cagayan.
“I am so saddened by these incidents because we expected nothing but the best performance from our police force. But while we concede that our organization is not perfect, I am truly saddened,” he said.
Dela Rosa also was dismayed that the cop he ordered dismissed in 2018, Wilfredo Gonzales, managed to collect his retirement pay and recently got involved in an incident where he was recorded on video beating a male biker and pointing a gun in the victim’s face.