Bato Dela Rosa told to focus on ridding PNP of rogue cops
MANILA — Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa should pay more attention to police affairs, particularly ridding the PNP of rogue cops, and limit his high-profile but extra-curricular activities, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said.
Lacson said Dela Rosa, whom he noted had started out good when he became the nation’s top cop, should “refocus his priorities.”
The senator, who headed the PNP during the presidency of now Manila mayor Joseph Estrada, gave his “unsolicited” advice to Dela Rosa on Sunday after he disagreed with the latter’s reaction to the criticisms on his appearance at a Bryan Adams concert last week. Dela Rosa had said that even if he had attended a concert last week, it would not bring back to life a Korean businessman who was killed allegedly by rogue policemen in a “tokhang for ransom” incident.
De la Rosa was defending himself from critics after he was spotted attending a concert of American singer Bryan Adams amid the controversy surrounding the death of Korean national Jee Ick Joo who was said to have been killed by policemen inside Camp Crame in Quezon City.
The Korean businessman was abducted at his Angeles City home in October last year and was strangled to death inside a car parked inside Crame where Dela Rosa holds office. The kidnappers demanded a P5-million ransom from Jee’s wife nearly two weeks after he was kidnapped, killed and cremated.
“He is missing the point entirely,” Lacson said of Dela Rosa’s statement.
The PNP has a problem that Dela Rosa should address, according to Lacson.
“Will you go to a concert if your house is burning? Even if your house was burned down to the ground, can I do something about it? Will I be able to build it back if I don’t watch a concert? That is not the point. The point is, there is a situation. There is a crisis that needs you to stand up where you are, even if the concert was really good and you leave it, to attend to the problem. Because you have a problem in your house,” Lacson said in a dzBB program.
The senator reminded Dela Rosa of his many responsibilities as PNP chief and warned him that his men would take advantage of his seemingly easy-going ways.
Lacson said Dela Rosa should call a command conference to lay down new policies that “henceforth we should now all be serious and henceforth I will also be serious and I won’t be funny anymore.”
He reiterated the Jee Ick Joo case should serve as a “wake up call” for Dela Rosa, expressing hope that the latter would be able to “recover” and pay attention to the PNP.
Lacson said he had heard reports that Dela Rosa had been planning to run for senator in the mid-term elections but the PNP should focus first on fulfilling his duties at the PNP.
Lacson said Dela Rosa could have been a good contender for 2019 two months after he took over the PNP but not at this time. He added it seemed that De la Rosa might have been “overwhelmed by fame and popularity.”
“But I don’t think it’s too late for him to recover and refocus his priorities and avoid activities not related to the police,” he added.
Lacson reiterated that the PNP chief need not resign from the job.
Lacson asked whether President Duterte would be able to appoint someone like Dela Rosa who have his high trust and confidence.
Asked what he thought about the silence of the President over the case of the Korean businessman, Lacson said that probably, Mr. Duterte has not yet gotten all the information he needed on the case.
He noted that President Duterte has become cautious with his recent statements to the media and expressed hope this was the start of his “metamorphosis” as a statesman.
When asked if rogue cops have been taking advantage of President Duterte’s war on drugs and his statement that he “has their back,” Lacson agreed that indeed the President had always encouraged policemen in the anti-drug campaign and his incendiary words on the killing of drug suspects might be taken literally by some.
Meanwhile, Lacson, who chairs the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said he would soon hold a hearing on Jee’s case and other tokhang-for-ransom cases, that included his Filipino-Chinese friend who was lucky to survive his ordeal.
Lacson said he was not sure if his committee would be able to call SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, the chief suspect in the murder of Jee, to the Senate hearing unless a good security arrangement could be provided him.
He said he would call anti-crime advocate Teresita Ang See who had reported to him the tokhang-for-ransom cases involving Filipino-Chinese businessmen.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said if Dela Rosa would not resign, the latter should get serious about cleaning house and ridding the PNP of “scalawags.”
“That should be his battle plan for the next 365 days. To leave behind a PNP purged of the crooks who give the whole organization a bad name,” Recto said in a statement.
Recto said he was not joining the calls for the PNP chief to resign as he asked the latter to “reform the PNP.” SFM