Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa on Monday bade farewell to the organization he headed for almost two years and thanked police officers and staff for being with him in his “rollercoaster” ride.
“I achieved a lot of things and I could not have done it without my men,” a tearful de la Rosa said in Filipino during Monday’s flag-raising rites.
“If I didn’t reach your level of expectation, I am sorry,” he added.
The outgoing PNP chief expressed no regret for the actions and decisions he made, saying he always used his “heart and brain.”
He said one of his legacies was bringing the police closer to the public.
“Ordinary citizens are not scared to come to me and ask for help so what more on local police,” he said. “I don’t expect all 100 percent of Filipinos will look up and trust me because some of them really don’t but generally, we brought back the respect of the public to us since we are now addressing drug issues.”
De la Rosa became a household name for his active involvement in the administration’s war on drugs. The PNP’s Operation Tokhang and Operation Double Barrel however became more controversial with the killing of teenagers who police said were involved in illegal drugs.
The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) also on Monday gave a testimonial parade to de la Rosa.
De la Rosa, who belongs to PMA Sinagtala Class ‘86, will leave his post on April 19. He will be replaced by National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Oscar Albayalde.
In his speech, de la Rosa thanked his alma mater for “fulfilling his dream” to be part of the force.
He also thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for making him the first PNP chief from Mindanao.
“I thank Rodrigo Duterte for his trust and confidence in me and giving me the biggest break in my career as a police officer,” de la Rosa said.
He received the PMA Outstanding Alumnus Award at the end of the ceremony.
The President named de la Rosa as head of the Bureau of Corrections.