AN international human rights group criticized the Indonesian government for recognizing Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa and his efforts in the war against illegal drugs.
“The Indonesian government debased the rule of law today by awarding Philippine National Police Director-General Ronald de la Rosa its highest honor, the Medal of Honor…That’s a perverse assessment of a Philippine government official implicated in possible crimes against humanity for inciting and instigating killings linked to the government’s ‘war on drugs,'” the Human Rights Watch Asia Division said on Friday.
The rights group issued the statement after Indonesia National Police Chief Tito Karnavian praised de la Rosa’s “rock star-like inspiration” to the Indonesian police, stating that it is a “perverse assessment” of the Filipino police chief.
The group urged Indonesian President Joko Widodo to join the call for a United Nations-led international investigation into the Philippines’ war on drugs rather than honor de la Rosa.
On February 7, the International Criminal Court (ICC) took the first step in investigating President Rodrigo Duterte and his links to the high number of deaths that occured in the administration’s ongoing drug campaign.
The PNP said it would not be deterred by the ICC investigation.
PNP Spokesperson John Bulalacao brushed off the criticism from the group, saying that de la Rosa did not even asked the Indonesian government to recognize his efforts in the drug war.
“De la Rosa did not ask for the award. It was bestowed on him in recognition of his efforts to lead the war against illegal drugs. The Chief PNP is however grateful for the award and, with or without it, his passion and dedication to the campaign shall remain because he wants the war on drugs to be intensified and eventually successful,” he said in a text message to The Manila Times also on Friday.
De la Rosa received the Bintang Bhayangkara Utama or Medal of Honour from the Indonesian National Police last February 14 for his contributions to the security of the Philippines and Indonesia.
The PNP Chief said in a phone interview to reporters that the award would inspire him more to exert efforts to eliminate illegal drugs in the country.
Since the resumption of “Operation Tokhang” on January 29, 2,137 alleged drug personalities have surrendered to police.
At least 65 individuals died in the drug operations from December 5 to February 14. ROY NARRA