'Grand conspiracy' against Dela Rosa, Duterte?
Amid calls for national police chief Ronald dela Rosa to step down from his post, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said now would be the wrong time to do so, as the country enters the 8th month of a popular but controversial war on drugs.
Speaking before Dela Rosa, top police officials, and Camp Crame personnel at the police headquarters on Monday, January 23, Aguirre said moves to "destroy" the police force – Dela Rosa, in particular – are motivated by a desire to undermine the President himself.
The Cabinet official claimed that since Duterte enjoys high trust and satisfaction ratings, those against him are instead focusing on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Duterte's first and only choice to lead it, Dela Rosa.
"That's part of what we're trying to figure out, if we stumble upon it… if there is a grand conspiracy to weaken the President, the chief of the PNP. That's part of our investigation," Dela Rosa would later say in a press conference.
Calls for Dela Rosa to resign surfaced last week, after it was revealed that a Korean businessman who had been kidnapped in October last year was murdered inside Camp Crame. Several cops are supposedly behind the crime.
It was a Duterte ally, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who was among the top government officials who made public their call for Dela Rosa to quit.
"Director General Ronald 'Bato' dela Rosa should immediately resign as chief of the Philippine National Police to save President Rodrigo Duterte from further embarrassment and restore respect to the Office of the PNP Chief," Alvarez said in a statement on Friday, January 20.
Alvarez added: "General Dela Rosa seems more interested in having a showbiz career and in landing on society pages of newspapers with his being everywhere doing mundane things like singing videoke and watching concerts."
But Alvarez changed his mind two days later, when he attended Dela Rosa's birthday bash at Camp Crame on Sunday, January 22. President Duterte was also among the guests.
Although Dela Rosa said they would "probe" the so-called "grand conspiracy," he insisted they would not allow it to distract them.
"We will focus our investigation on the facts of the crime (kidnap slay of the Korean businessman). If we find evidence [of a conspiracy], that's good. But if we aren't able to do so, we should not be distracted by that because it's already bordering on politics if we're talking about destabilization," he added.
Neither Aguirre nor Dela Rosa speculated on the identity of the individuals or group behind the supposed plot against Duterte and the PNP. – Rappler.com
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