Elsewhere in the world, you mess up your job, spend your time shooting your mouth off rather than delivering on your most basic tasks, wreak a scandal or two by your negligence or incompetence, thus tainting your organization as a whole — and you get fired.
That’s how it is with ordinary workers, employees, and common folk.
But not with Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who, Malacañang has announced, is to be the top honcho at the Bureau of Corrections after his retirement in January and an extension of three months as police chief, per the request of President Duterte.
The new post is obviously a reward for the one thing that has distinguished Dela Rosa’s tenure in the eyes of the President: his complete devotion to his boss, dating back to when he served as Davao City police chief during the latter’s long rule as city mayor.
Mr. Duterte has reciprocated that loyalty by investing unequivocal trust in Dela Rosa, even as the organization he heads has lurched from one controversy to another and overseen a dark period of violence that has drawn the horrified gaze and condemnation of the international community.
Of the thousands of extrajudicial killings that have occurred under Dela Rosa’s watch since May 2016, not a single conviction has been made or a case resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.
Instead, police officers and their men involved in some of the most heinous acts of killing in the course of the government’s war on drugs have seen their career prospects rise: They are either eventually reinstated to their old posts or given new ones after the perfunctory wrist-slap suspension intended to address public outrage.
Senior Supt. Albert Ignatius Ferro, who headed the PNP’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Group which was charged by the National Bureau of Investigation with abducting Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo in October 2016 and murdering him right inside Camp Crame, has been designated the new commander of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group.
Likewise, Supt. Marvin Marcos and the 19 cops who, according to the Senate itself, conspired to kill Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, inside his detention cell in Baybay City, were reinstated to full duty in July. Dela Rosa’s justification: “Sayang. Walang ginagawa, sumusuweldo (It’s a waste. They’re doing nothing and they’re being paid for it).”
Jee Ick-joo was murdered in a car a stone’s throw away from Dela Rosa’s office, and by cops charged to enforce the law. His remains were cremated and the ashes flushed down a toilet.
Incredibly, his abductors still managed to get ransom from his
widow. These terrible crimes would have driven any head of the police organization with a rudimentary sense of shame and responsibility to tender his resignation.
But it’s as if the PNP had reached rock-bottom. Dela Rosa simply dug in, the way he has invariably done in the face of a cascade of other outrageous police offenses, such as the secret detention cells inside Manila Police District Station No. 1 where destitute drug suspects were held, or the brutal killings in August of young people like 17-year-old Kian delos Santos.
Footage of the cops leading the young man toward some dark alley where he was later found dead was captured on CCTV, but the PNP chief still tried to spin and justify the murder.
“No chief of the Philippine National Police has brought as much disgrace and discredit to the institution he heads as Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa, a likeable enough police officer promoted beyond his capacity and competence,” Inquirer columnist John Nery once wrote of the man. Worse, that font of disgrace and discredit remains as unrepentant, and clueless, as
ever about his shortcomings. “As far as I am concerned, I brought back the trust and confidence of the people [in] the PNP,” he recently told a startled public.
Now Dela Rosa, who is said to be harboring senatorial ambitions, has heralded his announced new post at the BuCor with typical bombast: “I will make your life miserable,” he said, directing the warning at drug pushers and dealers at the New Bilibid Prison. It’s painfully obvious why the public is not holding its breath.
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