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Dela Rosa’s threat to burn drug lords’ homes just ‘drama’

Pia Ranada

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Dela Rosa’s threat to burn drug lords’ homes just ‘drama’
Like some of President Duterte's statements, the PNP chief's words are exaggerations to prove a point, says Chief Presidential Counsel Salvador Panelo

MANILA, Philippines – It’s apparently not only President Rodrigo Duterte who is into “dramatic” statements to prove a point.

According to Chief Presidential Counsel Salvador Panelo, the recent call of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa’s to burn the houses of drug lords is also hyperbole.

Hindi naman siya nagthreaten, drama lang ‘yun. Alam mo naman Pilipino kung walang golpe de gulat – golpe de gulat lang ‘yun,”  Panelo said in a chance interview with Palace reporters on Friday, August 26.

(He wasn’t threatening, it was just drama. You know Filipinos, they won’t listen if there is no exaggeration – it was just an exaggeration.)

On Thursday, Dela Rosa had told an audience of surrenderees – drug users and pushers – to burn the houses of the drug lords in their community to show anger.

Kilala ‘nyo sino drug lord dito, di ba? Puntahan ‘nyo….Buhusan ninyo ng gasolina ‘yung bahay, sindihan ninyo. Ipakita ninyo na galit kayo sa kanila,” Dela Rosa had said on Thursday in Bacolod City.

Dela Rosa appeared to be serious when he made the call, and even reiterated that he would stand by his words to deliver on the administration’s promise to curb criminality, especially illegal drugs.

Responding to questions about the possible repercussions of the PNP chief’s seeming endorsement of vigilantism, Panelo said Dela Rosa did not commit any crime by merely claiming he wanted the crime committed.

“You may have the worst of intentions, of criminal intent, [but] if you do not do that, there is no crime,” said the lawyer.

Crime is personal to the offender. To implicate the one that ordered you you have to prove there is such moral influence of the one that agitates you or they are your boss,” he added.

Both Dela Rosa and Duterte are known for threatening rhetoric when it comes to the war on drugs or other aspects of peace and order, raising concerns that their followers and supporters might take them seriously and take the law into their hands.

Duterte has often told media not to take all of his statements seriously, especially the “outrageous” ones. –

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.