MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and now Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa will gun for a Senate seat in 2019.
Dela Rosa confirmed this in a chance interview after the flag-raising ceremony at the New Bilibid Prison on Monday, September 3, after he was asked for updates on his plans for the upcoming polls.
"Inanunsyo na ng Presidente. Sinabi sa 'kin ng Presidente, tumakbo ako. Eh di tatakbo ako (The President has announced it. The President told me to run, so I will run [for senator])," Dela Rosa said.
Why this matters: His announcement comes over 5 weeks after he transferred his voter's registration to Davao del Sur, a move he made even before Duterte instructed him to seek a Senate seat. (READ: Dela Rosa vows to serve Duterte until his last breath)
Before the announcement, Dela Rosa earlier said it was already decided that he would run, but it would be up to the President whether he should run for governor or senator.
The former top cop has close ties with Duterte, and still considers himself the President's most loyal cop. He gained both popularity and notoriety for implementing the Philippines' bloody anti-drug campaign.
How will his bid play out? Dela Rosa did not disclose under which party he would run, but he has been endorsed for the Senate by Hugpong ng Pagbabago, the regional party of the President's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio.
If current survey numbers were the basis, Dela Rosa would have a good chance of winning in the 2019 elections.
In a June 2018 Pulse Asia survey, he was part of the so-called "Magic 12," besting potential reelectionists like senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Joseph Victor Ejercito.
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.