Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Wednesday, November 23, shed tears at a Senate inquiry into a police operation that senators have alleged to be a rubout.
Senator Miguel Zubiri, an administration ally, asked Dela Rosa about the steps he will take, given cases of cops who are allegedly involved in illegal drugs themselves. He also asked what the PNP chief would do to restore public trust in the police.
"Pinapasa-Diyos ko na lang itong sa PNP. Gustong-gusto kong mareform ang PNP. Ako'y hirap na hirap na (I'm just leaving the situation at the PNP to God. I really want to reform the PNP. I'm really having such a hard time)," said Dela Rosa, as he tried to fight back tears.
Alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, who sat beside the PNP chief, gave Dela Rosa tissue napkins to wipe away his tears.
Dela Rosa cited the case of Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido whom he had assigned to head the Albuera police station in Leyte to strengthen the government's fight against drugs – only to find out that Espenido was allegedly involved in illegal drugs himself, which the police officer later denied.
This was based on Espinosa's testimony at the hearing that day. He accused Espenido of facilitating his ties with Ronnie Dayan, the former driver and alleged bagman of Senator Leila de Lima. He also alleged that the police officer who headed the operation that led to his father's death was on the take. (READ: Kerwin Espinosa: Cop who led operations vs dad asked for P3M)
"There are times that I don't know who to trust, who is in or out of the drug business," said Dela Rosa, President Rodrigo Duterte's personal choice to lead the PNP in the government's war on drugs.
He said, however, that he will "fight till the end," adding that the Duterte administration has "6 complete years" to reform the police force.
Advice from former PNP chief
Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief, gave some advice to Dela Rosa particularly on police operations that claim lives, as in the case of the late mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. (READ: Senate probe: Poorly-written script in Espinosa killing?)
"If there's anyone here who understands law enforcement, ako 'yon (that would be me). I can speak for myself. We can give you so much leeway. Pero 'pag masyadong blatant na (But if it's too blatant already), with impunity, the chief PNP should do something….'Pag hindi ka kumilos mahahawa ang iba (If you don't act, the others would do the same)."
Lacson said there should be an "elastic limit, a threshold" in conducting police operations.
"Hindi puwedeng larga-larga na lang tayo (We can't just do things haphazardly)," he said. – Rappler.com