A word war erupted on Friday as a visibly irked Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa denied a claim by Sen. Leila de Lima that presidential aide Christopher “Bong” Go sought to reinstate an Eastern Visayas police official linked to drugs.
“She should tell me first who is her source, then I will tell her who is my kumpare [friend]who made the request,” de la Rosa told reporters after turning over a new batch of Special Action Force troopers who will guard the New Bilibid Prison.
De la Rosa denied that Go was the kumpare from Malacañang who wanted to reinstate Supt. Marvin Marcos as head of the Eastern Visayas Criminal Investigation and Detection Group despite being tagged by drug kingpin Kerwin Espinosa as a protector.
“Basta mayroon akong kumpare na tumawag, hindi siya (Go),” de la Rosa said.
Marcos allegedly sought money to finance the campaign of his wife who ran for vice mayor, Espinosa told a Senate inquiry last month.
At any rate, the PNP chief, there should be no more controversy as Marcos and his men have been relieved following their November 5 raid of a Leyte prison that resulted in the death of Espinosa’s father, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.
A key ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, hit de Lima for dragging Go into the mess.
“Senator de Lima seems to be resorting to squid tactics as a strategy to get the attention away from the accusations in which she herself is involved,” Cayetano said, referring to the drug trafficking charges against de Lima.
“Secretary Go is a professional, he doesn’t insert his own agenda in his professional duties. He is a soldier who follows his commander in chief’s directives. He should not be dragged in controversy especially when there is no clear proof,” he added.
De Lima on Friday rejected the PNP chief’s call for her to name her source. “I will not and will never disclose my source. I cannot breach the confidence accorded me by my source,” she said.
“The duty to disclose belongs to him (de la Rosa), and not to me, since he was the one who revealed the giving of the order,” she added.
Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo also weighed in, saying Marcos’ reinstatement was bothersome.
“General Bato said somebody higher than him ordered him to do that, and that is a cause for concern. First and foremost, the officer we are talking about is involved in a murder case,” Robredo said in a chance interview at the sidelines of the “Usapang Lupa at Pabahay” at Jose Rizal Elementary School in Pasay City.