‘Santa chief Bato’ hands gifts to kids of ‘Tokhang’ victims
Will “Bato’s” charm offensive turn around the negative perception of his “Oplan Tokhang”?
Beset with criticisms on the government’s war on drugs, which has claimed the lives of over 5,000 suspected drug users, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa turned into a jolly Santa Claus to distribute early Christmas presents to children of Tokhang surrenderers.
Dressed in a red fur suit and sporting white beard, Dela Rosa handed gifts to some 120 children of drug personalities who surrendered to the police under “Oplan Tokhang.”
Apparently, Dela Rosa thinks that children who were orphaned by President Duterte’s brutal drug war would learn to accept their loss with his Christmas presents.
In an ambush interview after the event dubbed “Christmas with Santa Chief,” Dela Rosa said: “Since most of these children ay namamatayan ng parents, ng father dahil sa ating ongoing war on drugs, we want to compensate this loss, their sadness with somehow little feeling of happiness. Na makita man lang nila na itong pasko, ang pulis, ang PNP ay gusto kaming masaya kahit na ang aming father ay namatay dahil sa operation ng war on drugs.”
(Since most of these children lost their parents, a father because of our ongoing war on drugs, we want to compensate this loss, their sadness with somehow a little feeling of happiness. [It’s for the children to see] that this Christmas, the police, the PNP to see that they are happy even if their fathers died because of the operation on our war on drugs.)
He said the police only want to make it up to the children of the drug war victims and surrenderers.
“Gusto ng pulis na bumawi, bumawi man rin sa mga bata. These children are innocent. Whatever their parents have done in the past… Ang kasalanan ni Pedro ay hindi kasalanan ni Jose,” he said.
(The police would like to make it up with the children. The sin of Peter is not the sin of Jose.)
Maximo Pagapuslan, 30, surrendered to the authorities months ago when Dela Rosa started deploying his men to conduct Oplan Tokhang, the knock-and-plead approach of the PNP against drug users and pushers, nationwide.
Pagapuslan’s 13-year-old daughter was among those who received a present from Dela Rosa.
He told INQUIRER.net that a few days ago, the PNP contacted him and asked him to bring one of his children because the police chief will distribute gifts to them.
“Okay naman sa amin. Sabi sa amin magbibigay daw sila ng regalo (It’s OK with us. They said they will give gifts),” he said.
In a speech before the children, Dela Rosa told them to stay away from drugs.
“Marahil ay alam na ninyo ang kasalukuyang nagagandap na pakikibaka ng kapulisan laban sa iligal na droga sa buong bansa. At marahil ay alam rin ninyo ang mga masasamang dulot ng iligal na droga sa buhay ng tao,” he said.
(Maybe you all know what’s going on in the police’s struggle in the fight against illegal drugs in the country. And perhaps you all know that illegal drugs have nothing good to contribute in the lives of the people.)
“Kaya naman hinihikayat ko kayo na umiwas sa bisyong ito kahit ano pa ang kapalit o kahit ano pa ang sabihin ng iba. Habang kayo ay nasa murang edad pa, simulan na ninyo ang mamuhay ng tama,” Dela Rosa added.
(That’s why I am urging you all to stay away from this vice whatever they [pushers] say about [drugs] or what they promise to give you in exchange for [engaging in this bad habit]. While you are young, start living the right way.) TVJ/rga
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