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MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa has one appeal to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in relation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into the Duterte administration’s bloody drug war: be man enough.
“What I’m asking for this government is to be man enough to please tell us what is the real score. Sabihan lang. Walang problem diyan. Wala naman patalikod na transaksyon (Tell us. There’s no problem with that. Don’t do back-channeling transaction),” Dela Rosa told reporters on Monday, January 22, when asked about his reaction to the alleged presence of ICC personnel in the country in late 2023.
Dela Rosa’s latest remark is a different tune for him, as he, in the past, would say he was unbothered by the ICC probe. “Dedma lang. Dedma. Hayaan mo lang sila kung ano gusto nilang gawin (I just ignore it. Let them do what they want to do),” the senator said in July 2023.
“Kapag sinabihan mo ako noon na hindi sila puwede pumasok at ngayon nagbago ang ihip ng hangin, pumayag na kayo (If you told me before that they were not allowed to enter and now if you’ve changed your mind), please tell us. You are our President. You are our leader. Tell us, we know what to do,” Dela Rosa said.
But, in November 2023, Dela Rosa said that he felt reassured after his meeting with the President. Dela Rosa’s private conversation with Marcos came on the heels of House and Senate resolutions urging the Marcos government to cooperate with the ICC probe into Duterte’s notorious drug war that killed thousands.
Former senator Antonio Trillanes claimed on Sunday that ICC probers had visited the Philippines to gather evidence in relation to the Duterte drug war. He also alleged that an arrest warrant against former president Rodrigo Duterte will be out soon, according to an Inquirer report. Trillanes cited “inside information,” adding that when the ICC comes back, it would be for the “for the purpose of obtaining enough evidence for the secondary level of accused or respondents.”
As the Duterte administration’s first chief of the Philippine National Police, Dela Rosa was regarded as the muscle of that infamous campaign. From July 2016 to October 2018 – a period that mostly covered Dela Rosa’s stint as PNP chief – the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said at least 4,999 were killed in police anti-drug operations. – Rappler.com