Bato dela Rosa

Dela Rosa brings up ICC probe while scolding cops ‘tagged’ in shabu mess

Jairo Bolledo

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Dela Rosa brings up ICC probe while scolding cops ‘tagged’ in shabu mess

PROBE. Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, chairperson of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, presides the resumption of the investigation of the 990 kilos, P6.7 billion drug buy bust on Tuesday, May 23.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

'Ako umaabot na 'yong kaso ko sa ICC dahil sa paglalaban natin sa droga, dahil sa ating war on drugs. Tapos kayo pala, pera-pera ang iniisip ninyo. Kayo pa'ng pasok sa sindikato,' Dela Rosa laments

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, the chair of Senate committee on dangerous drugs, brought up the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) probe into drug war killings while scolding cops allegedly tagged in the multi-billion shabu controversy.

Alam ‘nyo, ang kinasasama ng loob ko dito sa inyo. Makinig kayong lahat mga pulis. Ako umaabot na ‘yong kaso ko sa ICC dahil sa paglalaban natin sa droga, dahil sa ating war on drugs. Tapos kayo pala, pera-pera ang iniisip ninyo. Kayo pa’ng pasok sa sindikato. Kaya hindi ko masikmura kung ganito nang nangyari sa ating kapulisan, sumasama sa sindikato,” Dela Rosa said during his committee’s hearing on Tuesday, May 23.

(You know, what I resent you for. All cops, listen. My case has reached the ICC because of our fight against drugs, because of our war on drugs. Then there you are, money is what’s on your mind. You joined syndicates. That’s why I cannot accept that this is what happened to our police, cops joining syndicates).”

Dela Rosa, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief himself, leads the Senate probe that looks into the P6.7-billion shabu mess hounding the national police. Earlier this year, Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos alleged that police officers, including generals, covered up Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo’s arrest, the former cop nabbed over one ton of suspected shabu.

In numerous occasions in different probes, Dela Rosa grilled his fellow cops, while citing in contempt those who are not cooperative in the Senate probe. During Tuesday’s hearing, Dela Rosa also challenged the cops being questioned:

“Kung gusto ninyo, galit kayo sa akin dahil sa ginagawa ko rito na imbestigasyon, you do your best. Tingnan natin abilidad ninyo. Basta hindi ko kayo tatantanan, I tell you (If you want, if you’re angry with me because of this probe, you do your best. Let’s see what you got. But, I won’t stop, I tell you),” the senator said.

Dela Rosa added: “Ang buhay ko naka-dedicate na dito sa anti-drugs, ‘yong adbokasiya ko ‘yan hanggang mamatay ako. Lalabanan ko ‘yang anti-drugs na ‘yan kahit na bitayin ‘nyo ko sa ICC, kahit sa’n tayo aabot dito. ‘Yong droga na ‘yan, hindi ko talaga ‘yan iiwanan, hindi ko ‘yan aatrasan.”

(I dedicated my life here to the anti-drugs, it’s my advocacy until I die. I will fight that anti-drugs even if you sentence me to death in the ICC, there will be no limitation. Those drugs, I won’t leave them, I will not back down.)

The police-turned-lawmaker played a big role in the drug war and is considered the “architect” of the bloody campaign that took the lives of thousands of people.

Dela Rosa was the Duterte administration’s first PNP chief, and the first one to implement the bloody war. From July 2016 to October 2018, which mostly covered Dela Rosa’s time as PNP chief, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said at least 4,999 had died.

Before he became the top cop, Dela Rosa also served as Davao City police chief when Duterte was still the mayor. In his affidavit submitted to the ICC, former cop and Davao Death Squad (DDS) member and whistleblower Arturo Lascañas implicated Dela Rosa and named him as among public officials who were “enablers” of Duterte.

Edgar Matobato, a former DDS member, likewise implicated Dela Rosa and said the former Davao City police chief was aware of the DDS’ activities. Former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda named Dela Rosa in 2021 as being part of an “apparent” policy to perpetrate extrajudicial killings.

In separate occasions, Dela Rosa said he’s ready to face the ICC “any time,” and he has “no more fears” in dealing with the Court probing into the drug war killings. –

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.