Dela Rosa: I want to run for senator, but...

MANILA, Philippines – After becoming one of the most recognizable police chiefs in the country, Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Ronald dela Rosa wants to run for senator in 2019.

"Ako, Senado, kung ako'ng masusunod ah (If it were for me to decide alone, I would go for the Senate)," Dela Rosa said in an interview with ANC's Headstart on Wednesday, May 9.

He was asked to choose between running for senator, or governor in his home province Davao del Sur, after speculations of him diving into politics followed as he left the police service.

The numbers appear to be in his favor if he would run for senator.

In a Laylo poll held in November 2017, Dela Rosa was predicted to be in the top 10 to 12 spots for the Senate. In a Pulse Asia survey conducted in March 2018, he placed 8th to 15th.

What's holding him back? Even though Dela Rosa wants to be senator, he would still wait for the approval of his political patron: President Rodrigo Duterte.

"I must say it clearly that I cannot go against the will of the President. He's the one who made me, so whatever he says," Dela Rosa said in a mix of English and Filipino.

His bond with Duterte goes back decades. They knew each other as early as the first days following the People Power Revolution when Duterte was a recently installed vice mayor and Dela Rosa was a lieutenant fresh from the Philippine Military Academy.

When Duterte became mayor, Dela Rosa was his preferred city police director. When Duterte became president, Dela Rosa became his first national police chief. How will the President influence Dela Rosa's future in 2019? –

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.