PNP drive vs illegal drugs will not end with my retirement – Bato
The police force’s fight against illegal drugs does not end with the retirement of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
During his final briefing with the media as PNP’s top cop at Camp Crame in Quezon City on Monday, Dela Rosa turned emotional but maintained the police force’s formidable role in the Duterte administration’s so-called war on drugs.
“The commitment of PNP in the anti-illegal drugs campaign does not end to the retirement of Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa,” he noted.
“We can expect more effective results against illegal drugs under the new leadership that will infuse new blood into the campaign,” he added.
Dela Rosa, who has led the Duterte administration’s bloody crackdown on illegal drugs, will turn over his position to National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Oscar Albayalde in a ceremony at Camp Crame on April 19.
Dela Rosa and Albayalde were “mistahs” or brothers in the Philippine Military Academy Sinagtala Class of 1986.
Albayalde, for his part, said that he would intensify the anti-drug campaign while promising to cooperate with all investigations of killings linked to the brutal anti-illegal drugs campaign, including those being conducted by the Commission on Human Rights and PNP’s Internal Affairs Service (IAS).
The incoming PNP chief also said they comply with the Supreme Court order for the PNP to submit all its case files on Tokhang operations.
Dela Rosa said he would “surely miss” the weekly press briefing routine when he retires.
The outgoing PNP chief said that since the re-launch of the PNP’s anti-drug campaign called Project Double Barrel last December, the police have conducted a total of 12,032 operations nationwide; arrested 19,086; and killed 207 drug suspects.
He also cited the top four performing regions: National Capital Region with 3,620 operations and 7,162 arrests; Calabarzon with 1,637 operations and 2,998 arrests; Central Luzon with 1,691 operations and 3,492 arrests; and Central Visayas with 1,420 operations and 2,180 arrests.
All police regional office likewise “fared well” in their efforts with 9,566 tokhang activities that yielded 8081 surrenderers, according to Dela Rosa.
“But the 12,032 operations was not at all a walk in the park because there were isolated life threatening confrontations with armed drug suspects that necessitated the use of reasonable force by our operations, thus, resulting in 207 deaths from these police operations,” De la Rosa pointed out.
De la Rosa, a trusted aide of President Rodrigo Duterte, ends a 21-month long stint as head of the 160,000-strong police force. He was one of the youngest, if not the youngest, to be appointed as chief of the PNP, bypassing several upperclassmen from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
Mr. Duterte has appointed De la Rosa to his next assignment – as head of the Bureau of Corrections, which oversees the national penitentiary that has been tagged by the administration as a haven for illegal drugs trade.
From Camp Crame, De la Rosa and his deputies flew to Baguio City onboard the PNP’s newly purchased Bell 429 helicopter for his testimonial parade at the PMA. De la Rosa is a member of PMA Class of 1986. with reports from Nikko Dizon, Philippine Daily Inquirer /kga