Duterte hails Dela Rosa for 'unprecedented accomplishments' as PNP chief

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte showered with praises retired Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa as he bowed out of the police service on Thursday, April 19.

According to Duterte, Dela Rosa has achieved "unprecedented accomplishments" as the country's 21st police chief. (READ: Dela Rosa cries in goodbye message to PNP: 'I did everything I could')

"Through his visionary leadership, General Dela Rosa was able to steer our police force to great heights in the past 21 months. The unprecedented accomplishments of the PNP in this period attest to his determination to implement reforms and bring the organization closer to the people," Duterte said in a prepared speech during the PNP change of command ceremony at Camp Crame.

Citing the PNP's own data, Duterte said Dela Rosa was able to bring down crime by 22% nationwide and increase the crime solution efficiency of the police by 10% compared to the preceding 20-month period before he assumed office.

Duterte also praised Dela Rosa's term as the first to implement his flagship anti-drug campaign, which tallied 130,000 arrests and 1.2 million surrenders of drug suspects.

What Duterte didn't mention: The President failed to mention, however, that despite the drop in crimes nationwide, homicide cases increased by a double-digit percentage.

Just in 2017, the PNP recorded a 21.8% drop in all crimes, but a 14.6% rise in killings.

In commending the anti-drug campaign, Duterte was silent over 4,000 drug suspects shot dead in police operations. Thousands more killings are attributed by human rights groups to what the government proudly calls an "unrelenting war on drugs."

For international watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW), too, what's extraordinary is Dela Rosa's human rights record, which it claims is only matched by the dark days of the Marcos dictatorship.

Dela Rosa responded to the HRW criticism by challenging the group, as well as other critics, to take him to court if indeed he has committed human rights violations.

On Thursday, Dela Rosa ceded the PNP leadership to newly promoted Director General Oscar Albayalde, a veteran cop appointed by Duterte for his "strict" leadership as Metro Manila police chief. – Rappler.com

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.