An open letter to General “Bato” de la Rosa



    DEAR General De la Rosa,

    I couldn’t sleep last night.

    I can’t get over how members of the Philippine National Police conspired to abduct, kill and profit from the murder of a South Korean businessman.

    It hurts like hell, and I don’t even know the guy.

    When Jee Ick-joo and his family decided to relocate to the Philippines, it was a decision based on a combination of trust and instinct. Trust, that our society would protect them. Instinct, that they would be treated well in the same way that thousands of Filipino workers in South Korea have remained safe and somehow progressive.

    Somehow, this foreigner got entangled with our men in uniform who abducted him. Then killed him. And within hours, demanded ransom from the frantic wife. Money changed hands, right? Based on news reports, $100,000 in ransom was paid.

    Had this happened to an OFW in South Korea, we would be up in arms. There would be rallies in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs calling out for justice. But, see, this would never happen in South Korea–not with their police force. It happened here. And you chose to watch a Bryan Adams concert in the midst of it.

    I don’t personally know you but I have seen you perform your duties, before Senate and House hearings, while in the company of your peers, and in a hundred and one media events and interviews. You are very visible. Somehow, that makes you fair game.

    But I have no wish to bring this to the dungeon of political propaganda. I just want to let you know that while I wish you well, and have no personal agenda for or against you, this particular crime, as well as previous shenanigans committed by our men in uniform, destroys the moral and social fabric of our nation.

    No song of Bryan Adams can make up for our sleepless nights. I apologize for that dig. However, if you feel a sense of entitlement because you never had such opportunities due to poverty, let me assure you that character shines the most when it’s hardest to say no.
    Back to sleepless nights.

    What kind of person would wake up in the morning, put on his uniform and his badge, then proceed to kidnap a Korean businessman, and strangle him to death inside the Philippine National Police headquarters?

    Can you imagine that policeman eating a snack or perhaps sipping coffee, lighting a cigarette, doing normal things after strangling his kidnapped victim? Or, just walking around inside the high walls of Camp Crame, with a deep, dark secret tagging along. Inside Camp Crame, where people go to seek help in getting criminals off the streets. What irony there!

    General Bato, I do have some questions for you. Let this be my own version of a freedom of information request.

    Do you want the PNP to be respected or for you to be esteemed? Sometimes, these can be two divergent paths. Why do I instinctively feel that the latter seems to be the dominant one? I know that you are a humble and kind man. Be in it for the long haul. We would like nothing better than to love you, but we need to trust your institution more.

    What is your vision for the PNP? It is an institution beset with big- league problems while catering to a constituency of more than 100 million citizens. Yours is a herculean task. How can we help the PNP? Where is the roadmap? Please do not point to the President. He already did his part by appointing you.

    When you admitted before the media that this crime involving Jee Ick-joo affected you, too, the word you used was “natutunaw” (melting). Did you melt out of anger? Did you melt out of sheer embarrassment? Did you address all your commanders right after to make sure that they understood how such impunity and corruption and sheer evil must stop? If you didn’t, can you do that now? In front of all of us, if not the world?

    It’s frightening that the war against drugs must be fought not just on the streets but also within your ranks. Can you hack it? Can you tell your seniors, side with the people or be gone? President Duterte needs you to be able to do that.

    I know that your heart is in the right place. However, a little sensitivity would go a long way. Your men and women are licensed to have arms. So many of them are courageous, competent and decent people, and for that we are thankful. Then, you have the scalawags. They taint the country with the darkest hues. They have secrets too deep and dangerous to reveal. The impunity of killing comes with keeping those secrets safe. Amidst the rivalry between good and evil within the PNP, I implore you to keep us safe, and for justice and human rights to be the bedrocks of our society.

    God bless you, General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa.


    Please follow our commenting guidelines.


    1. Good letter Ms. Ople. Did you send this letter to General De La Rosa? Please do because I doubt he has the time to read your Letter / article in this issue. On one hand, these conspiring policemen would do the same criminal act even if Gen. De La Rosa was not in concert or the general could have been somewhere on official function.The most disturbing circumstance of this killing that the very act was carried out in the National Headquarter of PNP.

    2. The only way the PNP and Bato can redeem themselves – since we are into the unorthodox nowadays anyway – is for those cops involved, including and especially the senior officials who were in the shadows controlling this botched hulidap operation, to be summarily executed. You will be surprised at the massive rise in the PNP’s credibility with the public if this happens. The culture in other countries call for the superiors to resign and in Japan they commit harakiri. Well, in our culture we “salvage” these creeps, don’t we? Im serious, titino ang hanay ng mga pulis pag ganito ang maging kalakaran para sa mga salbaheng pulis. Just do it, Digong and Bato, just do it !

    3. dont you bother anymore. kardo’s mission in cebu would be over soon. we shall endorse the job to him. or we might propose kardo as bato’s deputy. and if by any strange circumstance kardo does not succeed let’s hope onyok soon grows up to finish the job of bato and kardo. long live, el probinsyano!

    4. DDS…you are all needed inside the Camp Crame. Let’s see if this CORRUPT Cops have a better life inside that Godforsaken place. Eliminate all DIRTY cops and see for ourselves if the CHR will react as well as the Catholic Church and the Senate…

    5. eric mandirigma on

      yan ang problema pag ang isang commander ay walang malawak na karanasan sa pag hawak ng maraming tao under his command. “command leadership” ni hindi man naging regional o directorate si bato.kung sa AFP ka level lang siya ng isang BN CMDR. pang DAVAO lang siya. kulang sa pang malawakang experience. at ang isang pinaka mahalaga, maraming nasagasaang upper class na officers na ang panalangin ay madapa siya. sana tinanggap na lang niya ay maging TASK FORCE commander sa drugs o sa krimen. mas marami pang tutulong sa kanyang officers. kasi lahat gustong magpa pogi.

    6. The Great Defiant on

      PNP is worst under LP…
      they became cold bloodied killer thirsty for blood money….
      jail is too good for them…

      assign them to mamsapano and let the abu’s feast on their brains…

    7. arnold arellano on

      Gen. Bato is a good man but he could have exert efforts to eradicate frauds in the PNP being a chief of this institution.Its not bad to enjoy leisure but just a sensitivity amids all crisis in our society. God Bless our country

    8. Not only at the PNP, but everywhere in government, there’s assassination and character assassination as well. As St. Paul explains it in 1Tim.6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil . . .” Millions of money or promotion in position (for money and power) re-color the Man made in the image of God.

    9. Obviously, Bato loves the attention, the perks and the frills. He has become too visible for his own good. He hogs the limelight too much to be effective as the top law and order enforcer of the land. He acts like a rock star, instead of a no-nonsense officer. In short, instead of keeping his eyes squarely on the road, he has slept on the wheel at times. When Mayor Espinosa was murdered, Bato was in Las Vegas, soaking the attention during Manny Pacquiao’s fight. When the Korean businessman was murdered, Bato was at a rock concert. Did I say he was asleep at the wheel? I do not question Bato’s sincerity. But he should have known that being the head of the PNP can, after the presidency, be the loneliest job in the country. You can trust no one, most especially your subordinates. Everyone is a poisonous snake in that viper pit. Bato left himself, on at least 2 occasions, open to being bitten by the vipers. He should have known better. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Bato!

      • My sentiment exactly! Also, he is not doing the president any favor by his inaction on those vigilante killings which are being unfairly blamed on the government. I believe it’s time for the president to let Gen. Dela Rosa go and replace him with someone competent who can quietly do the job he’s tasked to do. Dela Rosa is all talk and no action.

    10. Ms Ople!! do you know how horribly deep the police corrption has been. There was a time when second top policeman was a boss of kidnapper group. You should reccomend the person who is more courageous and more of integrity before you demand his resignation.

    11. Excellent letter, Ms. Ople! I remember & respected you father who I know had given you the right morals! I do hope Gen. Bato reads it & digest everything you wrote. You hit all the right tones and I totally agree with you. Thanks for taking time to write this fantastic letter!

    12. You want to help?

      Start by killing those scalawags in uniforms. Put the fear of EJK in these heartless scoundrels!

      Your blame will not bring back the Jee Ick-joos of the world.

      When you have decided to take action, I will believe you that there are no crimes in South Korea more heinous than this.

      For now, I will pray long and hard that you find it in your toothless heart the terror to be the bloody sword of justice and human rights, to be the menacing scourge of Camp Crame!!

      • Do not forget, HE WILL PROTECT YOU IF YOU KILL CRIMINALS, uniformed or in sandals or loins of gold!!!

    13. Ms Ople, perhaps you should be addressing this letter to Duterte, not De La Rosa, who is the President’s appointee. After all neither in this killing nor in the case involving a prisoner in prison, Espinosa, has the President come out with a strong statement against the police. And the President also has not condemned the killings of the other 6200 Filipinos in his infamous war on drugs.. So please get real and address the problem at its source.