Beyond Senate probes: The bond between ‘Doroy’ and Risa Hontiveros

Bea Cupin
Beyond Senate probes: The bond between ‘Doroy’ and Risa Hontiveros
'You know me, you know me personally, your honor,' the PNP chief tells the senator, whose late husband was his classmate in the PMA

To most Filipinos, he is “Bato.” To his subordinates, he is either “sir” or “chief, PNP.” On paper, he is “Director General Ronald dela Rosa.”

But to a select group of people – graduates and spouses of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Sinagtala” Class of 1986, for instance – he is “Doroy.”

So when emotions ran high during a Senate probe into the death of two teens in the ongoing drug war, it was the nickname Senator Risa Hontiveros called Dela Rosa who was on the verge of tears. (READ: Dela Rosa cries anew in Senate hearing, insists ‘no policy to kill’)

“Chief PNP, Doroy,” started Hontiveros on Tuesday, September 5, after Dela Rosa said he was hurt and felt alluded to when the senator said there seemed to be a “pattern” in the killing of drug suspects, particularly in the case of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos and 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz.

The two teenagers died in the hands of Caloocan City police in a span of a few days. Police allegedly found shabu in the bodies of both boys. 

“You know me, you know me personally, your honor,” Dela Rosa said.

“Yes, and you know me,” replied Hontiveros.

This was not first time the two butted heads. In previous Senate investigations into alleged abuses by police in the drug war, Hontiveros has been among the most adamant in demanding answers.

During the Tuesday hearing, Hontiveros clarified that she was referring to the Office of the President in talking about a policy of killing.

Dela Rosa said this was an insult to himself and the members of the 175,000-strong PNP, particularly those who are honest in their work.

In case their exchange – and previous exchanges before the Senate – are not indication enough, the two share a rather unique bond: Dela Rosa is a member of the PMA class of 1986, the same class Hontiveros’ late husband, Frank Baraquel, belonged to. PMA graduates of the same class and their spouses call each other mistah.

“Doroy,” explained another mistah (classmate) from the class of 1986, was Dela Rosa’s nickname in the academy. It’s a play on Dela Rosa’s family name.

Hontiveros was among Dela Rosa’s guests of honor back in July 2016 when he officially assumed his current post as the PNP’s top cop.

Mistahs and their ladies (wives) belonging to the same class typically share a unique bond. Fights – both personal and professional – come and go but more often than not, other mistahs or ladies step in to mend ties.

Will their exchange – and the emotions that ran high – stay in the halls of the Senate? Or will it spillover to their relationship as “mistahs”? –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.