MANILA, Philippines – “Sabihan natin yung mga tao natin, yung officer na nagsasabi ng ganito. Kung may bayag sila, ako ang kausapin nila (Tell our men and women, the officers who say this. If they have balls, they should talk to me).”
A visibly peeved Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Tuesday, October 25, chastised members of the 160,000-strong police force who have an issue with the ongoing “war on drugs” and turn to the media to voice their concerns.
“If they are dissatisfied sa nangyayari, eh be open to the chief [of the PNP], kung ayaw niyong kausapin yung [regional director], si chief ang kausapin ninyo. ‘Wag yung mag-ganyan kayo sa media na magsasabi ng ganoon,” added Dela Rosa on Tuesday, after a press conference preceding a meeting with the PNP’s top officials from all over the country.
(If they are dissatisfied with that’s happening, be open to the PNP chief. If they don’t want to talk to their regional director, talk to me. But don’t go to the media to talk about those things.)
Still talking on a hot mic as media were being instructed to leave the hall where the Command Conference would take place, Dela Rosa added: “Hindi lang yan conduct unbecoming kundi parang insubordination talaga yung ginagawang ganyan. Ina-undermine nila ang effort ng Presidente. Sabihan natin yung mga tao natin.”
(That’s not just conduct unbecoming [of an officer] but it’s akin to insubordination. They’re undermining the efforts of the President. Let’s tell our men and women off.)
Dela Rosa’s outburst was part of his extended reaction to a Reuters report which quoted an anonymous “senior Philippine law enforcement officer” as complaining about the undue pressure President Rodrigo Duterte’s “arbitrary” figures on the “war on drugs” were putting on government officials.
The Reuters report, which was released on Monday, October 24, went into detail over “dubious data” employed by government officials, including Duterte, when discussing the “war on drugs.” The President, for instance, has repeatedly claimed that there are over 3.7 million drug addicts in the country.
Official data from the Dangerous Drug Board pegs the figure at 1.8 million.
From July 1 to October 25, the PNP has made more than 700,000 suspected drug users and pushers “surrender.” But, said the anonymous police source, they are expected to come up with close to 1.8 million “surrenderers” before the “deadline” for the “war on drugs” lapses in July 2017.
At first, Dela Rosa trained his guns on media, whom he chastised for using anonymous sources in the first place. “‘Yan ang mahirap sa inyo, gumagawa kayo ng balita tapos ayaw ninyong sabihin [ang source]… maya-maya, wala pala yung taong nagsabi ng ganoon tapos gawa-gawa ninyo yan, ayusin natin dahil mahirap yung ganoon,” he said.
(That’s the problem with you, you report on things but you don’t want to say who the source is. What if what you’re saying isn’t true and you just made that up? Let’s do it right because it’s unfair if you work that way.)
“I cannot give a concrete answer to a hypothetical question. Hypothetical yung question dahil walang tao na nagsasabi (because it’s not attributed to anybody). Ayaw ninyong bigyan ng pangalan kaya ayaw ko ring bigyan ng sagot (You don’t want to identify the source so I don’t want to answer that),” he added.
This isn’t the first time for Dela Rosa to seemingly lash out against rumblings within the PNP’s ranks.
In response to a report in The Guardian that quoted an anonymous senior police officer on the supposed existence of hit squads formed to neutralize suspected criminals, drug suspects included, Dela Rosa challenged the reporter to “present” to him the police source.
“Sasabihin ko sa kanya, ‘yung nagbabalita, na ‘yung balita niya is a hoax. He is inventing his story kung hindi niya sabihin sa akin kung sino ‘yung senior police official na yan,” said Dela Rosa of the report. (I’ll tell the reporter that the report is a hoax. He is inventing his story if he doesn’t tell me who that senior police official is.)
He added: “Sana i-present niya sa akin kung sino ang official na ‘yan. ‘Tsaka ‘yung official na ‘yan na nagsasabi, sana may bayag. Opisyal ka pa naman tapos gano’n ang gagawin mo, sisirain mo ‘yung organisasyon? Ano’ng klaseng official ka? Wala kang bayag.”
(I hope the writer presents to me that official. And the official making those claims, I hope he has balls. You’re an official and that’s what you do, destroy the organization? What kind of official are you? You have no balls.)
Dela Rosa leads the PNP in its “war” against illegal drugs, among Duterte’s key promises during the 2016 elections. Law enforcers initially had 6 months to rid the country of illegal drugs but Duterte has since extended the deadline by 6 more months. – Rappler.com