THREE days after Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez called on Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa to resign, the House leader made a turnaround, saying the police chief deserves a second chance.
Alvarez’s change of heart came a day after he attended dela Rosa’s birthday party on Sunday in Camp Crame.
“I have said my piece and I would agree that we should give the PNP chief a chance to fix the problems in the PNP. At doon ay, yun nga, alam mo naman, napag-usap-usapan, biruan nang biruan (During his birthday, there was ribbing). I said, okay, and told him he should do what he is supposed to,” Alvarez said in a radio interview.
On Friday, Alvarez said dela Rosa should immediately resign over the killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo to save President Rodrigo Duterte from embarrassment and restore respect to the office of the PNP chief. The Speaker noted that the “commission of a heinous crime right under his very nose is not only an insult but a clear indication that he has lost the respect of his people.”
Alvarez had two birthday wishes for dela Rosa: good health and to rid the PNP of scalawags.
Party-list Representatives Sherwin Tugna of Citizens Battle Against Corruption and Alfredo Garbin of Ako Bicol shared Alvarez’s sentiments, stressing that dela Rosa should prove that he deserves to lead the 160,000 police force.
“When somebody was murdered beside your office and you went on watching a Bryan Adams concert, then it does not speak well of a PNP chief who is supposed to lead the 160,000-strong police force. Let us give him a chance, but he should shape up and prove, within 60 days, that he deserves the trust of the President by cooperating with authorities,” Tugna said.
“General Bato should assess his leadership, if he still commands respect from his subordinates. At the very least, those involved in the killing of the South Korean should be summarily dismissed,” Garbin pointed out.
“What happened was the height of ineptitude. The PNP chief should be able to investigate his men on their involvement in extra- judicial killings,” Garbin added.
But anti-crime advocates on Monday called on Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno to discipline dela Rosa for his apparent failure to cleanse the organization of scalawags.
Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), said Sueno should control dela Rosa so that the latter can focus on his duties.
“Dela Rosa has practically failed in cleansing the PNP and DILG Secretary Sueno must take action,” Jimenez said in an interview.
The VACC head noted that Sueno should address the issue because the President has so many things to attend to.
“We can see the PNP chief busy attending ribbon cutting ceremonies, singing and watching concerts. I think it’s time for him to shape up,” Jimenez said, adding that he does not support calls for Dela Rosa to resign.
But he insisted that the PNP should not be involved in the investigation of Jee’s case. The PNP, he said, should cooperate with the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation instead of conducting a parallel investigation that may only cast doubt on the impartiality of the probe.