PNP chief Dela Rosa 'open' to 2019 Senate run
Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), admitted on Thursday, May 11, that he “wants” to be a senator although he doesn't have concrete plans or the money for a 2019 bid right now.
“Wala akong pera pang-gastos (I don’t have money to spend),” said Dela Rosa in an interview with radio station dZMM.
The 4-star police general, however, admitted he was “open” to gunning for a legislative post, while expressing worry over possible “attacks” from other would-be legislators.
Dela Rosa is retiring in January 2018. The first senatorial and local elections under the Duterte administration will happen in May 2019.
“Hindi po ako plastic na tao, ako ay gusto ko maging senador rin pero hindi ko sinabi agad, directly na ako ay tatakbo. Ang akin lang, makatulong ako sa bayan sa pamamaraan ng pagiging senador eh why not? Klaruhin ko, wala akong plano. Maganda maging senador pero wala akong plano dahil alam mo na,” he added.
(I won’t be a hypocrite and say I don’t want to be a senator but I don’t say that I’m running. I just want to help the country and if I can do that as a senator, why not? But let me make this clear: I have no plans. It’s nice to be a senator but I have no plans because you know…)
Pressed on whether he had closed his mind to politics, Dela Rosa said: “Hindi sarado, mahirap naman isara mo yung utak mo patungkol diyan. (It’s not closed. It’s hard to close your mind on things like that.)You have to keep your options open.”
Dela Rosa was appointed the country’s top cop in July 2016, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte was sworn into office. He has led – and repeatedly defended – Duterte’s popular but controversial war on drugs.
The PNP chief also said he was not closing his doors to public service after retirement. “Kung kinakailangan pa niya, eh andiyan naman ako (If he still needs me, I’m just here), referring to President Rodrigo Duterte. "I’m still very healthy,” he said.
It’s not the first time that Dela Rosa has been teased or asked about a possible Senate run. During appearances before the Senate or the House of Representatives, sitting legislators make it a point to refer to Dela Rosa as a future colleague.
Dela Rosa, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1986, spent most of his career in the Davao region. He was chief of the Davao City Police Office during the succeeding terms of Duterte and his daughter, current city mayor Sara Duterte.
Dela Rosa is, for sure, a popular figure. In a March 2017 survey on the awareness and performance rating of Cabinet and Cabinet-level officials, Dela Rosa registered a hundred-percent awareness rating. His approval rating was just as high at 75%. – Bea Cupin/Rappler.com
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