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 in the country.
The Human Rights Watch Asia Division slammed Indonesia National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian for praising De la Rosa’s “rock star-like inspiration” to the Indonesian police.
“The Indonesian government debased the rule of law today by awarding PNP Director-General Ronald dela 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 group said.
The group added: “Dela Rosa has obstructed calls for accountability for those deaths by dismissing requests for independent investigations as ‘legal harassment’ and declaring that such demands ‘dampens the morale’ of police officers,” they said.
Human Rights Watch urged Indonesian President Joko Widodo to join the call for a United Nations-led international investigation into the Philippines’ war on drugs campaign rather than honor De la Rosa.
On February 7, The International Criminal Court started the first step in probing President Rodrigo Duterte and his links to the high number of deaths in the administration’s war against illegal drugs.
The PNP previously said the investigation will not deter them from conducting anti-illegal drugs operations.
“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,” PNP spokesman John Bulalacao said.
De la Rosa received the Bintang Bhayangkara Utama or Medal of Honor 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 will give him more inspiration to exert efforts in eliminating illegal drugs in the country.
Since the resumption of Operation Tokhang on January 29 about 2,137 alleged drug suspects have surrendered to police authorities.
Some 65 individuals have been killed in numerous anti-illegal drugs operations from December 5 to February 14.