Bato dela Rosa

‘Happy ako,’ Dela Rosa says after meeting with Marcos

Bonz Magsambol

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‘Happy ako,’ Dela Rosa says after meeting with Marcos

File photo of Senator Bato dela Rosa

Angie de Silva/Rappler

The senator's conversation with the President comes on the heels of House and Senate resolutions urging the government to cooperate with the International Criminal Court's probe into former president Rodrigo Duterte's bloody drug war

MANILA, Philippines – A smiling Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said on Wednesday, November 29, that he was happy to have met President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during a dinner with senators on Tuesday night, November 28.

Only hours before that social call at the Palace with the President, Dela Rosa said in the halls of Senate that he was “hurt” that a fellow senator filed a resolution pushing for cooperation with the International Criminal Court’s probe into former president Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody drug war.

“I’m not at liberty to reveal the details of our conversation. It was a privileged communication between us. Tingnan ‘nyo na lang ako mukha ko, nakangisi, naka smile (Just look at my face, I’m grinning, smiling),” Dela Rosa told reporters when asked what his conversation with Marcos was about.

“I don’t have to reveal the details pero happy ako (but I’m happy),” he added.

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 investigation probe into Duterte’s notorious drug war that killed thousands.

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.

On Tuesday, Dela Rosa said he was hurt by the Senate resolution filed by Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros urging the Philippine government to help with the ICC probe.

“Masama po ang loob ko. But anyway, baka sabihin nya trabaho lang walang personalan. Pero saken that’s very personal because I’m one of the subjects na iimbestigahan,” Dela Rosa said.

(I feel offended. But anyway, maybe she would say it’s just part of her work, no personal motives. But for me, it is personal because I’m one of the subjects being investigated.)

In March 2018, the Philippines – upon the instructions of Duterte – submitted to the United Nations a notice on its withdrawal from the ICC. The following year, in 2019, the tribunal announced the country’s departure from the Rome Statute.

It can be recalled that in August 2022, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said that “the Philippines has no intention of rejoining the ICC.” In February 2023, he reiterated that he cannot cooperate with ICC unless the jurisdiction question is resolved.

But Marcos said on Friday, November 24, that the return of the Philippines to the ICC was “under study.” The President made the statement in a media interview in Taguig City, while responding to questions on the proposed House resolutions urging the government to cooperate with the ICC investigation. – Rappler.com

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.