PNP chief Dela Rosa: Academy hazings made me who I am today

Rambo Talabong
PNP chief Dela Rosa: Academy hazings made me who I am today
''Yung lahat ng dinaanan kong paghihirap, diyan ako naging disiplinado at diyan ako naging director ngayon,' says Dela Rosa

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa has mixed feelings about beatings inside police and military academies.

While he categorically says beatings inside training schools are illegal, he admits the blows he’s taken during his Philippine Military Academy (PMA) days are what made him who he is today.

Hindi ko jinujustify ha…Porke dinaanan ko na ‘yan, natapos na ako ng 4 years na bugbugan sa academy, jinujustify ko na? But again for me, coming from me, I must tell you: ‘Yung lahat ng dinaanan kong paghihirap, diyan ako naging disiplinado at diyan ako naging director ngayon, bakit ako sometimes I am very tough, and sometimes I am very soft because of ‘yung dinaanan kong training,” Dela Rosa said in a Camp Crame press conference on Monday, April 2.

(I am not justifying it, okay. Just because I went through that and I finished 4 years of beatings in the academy, I am already justifying it? But against, for me, coming from me, I must tell you: All the hardships that I went through, that’s how I became disciplined, and that is how I became a director now. It’s why I am sometimes very tough and sometimes very soft is because of the training that I went through.)

Dela Rosa was pressed for his take on police and academy beatings after a video surfaced showing what appears to be a hazing activity under the roof of the PNP Academy (EXCLUSIVE: Video in 2017 shows beating at PNP Academy )

Why it matters: As the PNP chief, Dela Rosa holds influence on the indoctrination of all cops in the Philippines, be it directly through the PNP Academy, or indirectly through the statements he makes in public.

His recent pronouncements point to what he himself admits is a “culture” deeply embedded in the Philippine security forces.

Alam mo, we’re nagdedeal kasi kami ng tao eh, kalaban. You should be tough. Ang kalaban mo diyang mga criminals, ang kalaban ng mga military mga NPA or mga Abu Sayyaf. So kung hindi mo i-subject sa tough training ‘yung police at sundalo, you will have a very weak armed forces atsaka pulis,” Dela Rosa explained.

(You know, it’s because with people, enemies. You should be tough. Your enemies are criminals, the enemies of the military are the NPA  or the Abu Sayyaf. So if you don’t subject police and military to tough training, you will have a very weak police and armed forces.)

Are beatings the only way? Dela Rosa said “toughness” is not confined to underground academy paddlings, explaining that upperclassmen can just subject erring underclassmen to strenuous physical activities like, as Dela Rosa thrusted as an example, “having them do push-ups for an entire day.” – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.