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MANILA, Philippines – A senator in Guam canceled the planned visit of former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa to the legislature there, after earning the ire of another local lawmaker.
Several media outlets in Guam, including Pacific Daily News and the Guam Daily Post, reported that Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr initially invited Dela Rosa to visit the Guam Congress Building on Saturday, June 30.
But the visit was canceled on Friday, June 29, after Senator Telena Nelson said it would send “the wrong message.”
“Law enforcement officials in Guam, and throughout the world, must protect the judicial system, not act outside of it,” Nelson was quoted as saying.
“When numerous human rights organizations allege that thousands of lives were taken without due process, each of us have an obligation to say no – not stand there for photos,” she added.
Rodriguez, however, told the Pacific Daily News that he canceled the courtesy visit in order to not “subject one of President [Rodrigo] Duterte’s top advisors to that kind of treatment.”
He also said Nelson “should take a look at human rights violations happening here at home over which her committee has oversight.”
“It is best we discuss that after our guest leaves [the] island so we ensure he is treated with the hafa adai spirit we are known for,” Rodriguez added.
Dela Rosa, who now heads the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), initially spearheaded Duterte’s widely-criticized anti-drug campaign. (READ: Dela Rosa calls drug war critics ‘a bunch of ingrates’)
At least 4,729 suspects have been killed in the PNP’s anti-drug operations, but human rights groups estimate drug-related deaths at almost 20,000. (READ: Dela Rosa claims bloodless drug war ‘impossible’)