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‘Bato’ is human after all

  • Written by Alfred Dalizon
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 201

Crame files

MANY may have been moved by their emotions when PNP chief, General Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa broke into tears last Wednesday and told millions of Filipinos watching the live Senate hearing into the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. that ‘I am very tired already’ of seeing and hearing that the public is losing trust in the PNP due to the presence of rogues in uniform.

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“Ako’y hirap na hirap na,” the member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986  said in between sobs and obviously out of frustration after hearing the names of policemen-active or not-identified by Kerwin Espinosa as receiving monthly protection money from him. The Rock also said he is not a ‘Superman’ but nevertheless promised not to leave his idol President Duterte and to do everything to ferret out the misfits and scalawags in the 160,000-strong organization.

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 What triggered The Chief’s emotional outburst was an observation from Senator Migz Zubiri who asked him that the public is losing trust in the PNP due to revelations like that of Kerwin who tagged a number of cops as his ‘protectors.’ Many fathers could easily relate to The Chief and I’m referring to fathers who could only cry in despair after seeing their kids going astray despite giving them the best they could offer.

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“Your honor, I cannot blame the public if they are losing trust and confidence in their police because I myself, sabi ko nga, ’di ko alam kung sino ang pagkakatiwalaan,” the PNP chief said in between sobs as Kerwin, who was seated beside him, gave him napkins to wipe his tears. Dela Rosa also said what his fellow PMAyers have been saying: that one could survive the world if he had survived the PMA. But he admitted that this time, he was having a difficult time weathering the trials he faces in his present position.

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”Pinapasa-Diyos ko na lang itong sitwasyon namin sa PNP. Gustung-gusto ko nang ma-reform ang PNP because mahal na mahal ko ’yung organisasyon namin. Pero ako’y hirap na hirap na. Pero I will never surrender… kaya ko ito, hindi ko ito uurungan. Lilinisin ko ang PNP hanggang sa makakaya ko,” our top cop said.

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A former PNP chief and boss of Dela Rosa when he was still the commander of the famous but now defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force, Sen. Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson, the chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order andDangerous Drugs which is spearheading the investigation, gave some advice to Dela Rosa, particularly on police operations that claim lives.

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“If there’s anyone here who understands law enforcement, ako ‘yon. I can speak for myself. We can give you so much leeway. Pero ‘pag masyadong blatant na, with impunity, the Chief PNP should do something… ‘Pag hindi ka kumilos mahahawa ang iba,” Lacson said while adding that there should be an “elastic limit, a threshold” in conducting police operations.

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Having known Sen. Ping since his days in uniform, I believe there’s more to be done by Chief Bato in the fight against rogues in the PNP. During his term as Chief,PNP, Lacson made sure that he would be respected and feared by criminals, both in the underworld and the uniformed service. It was the very same reason why the PAOCTF made many enemies as it launched a no-nonsense crackdown against rogues in the service.

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I can’t understand why some cops really don’t learn their lessons. Since President Duterte rose into power, the number of armed drug dealers reportedly killed in gunbattles with the police is now nearing the 2,000 mark. There are also 16 policemen and three  soldiers killed while going after defiant drug traffickers during the period. But the fact remains that dozens of rogues in PNP uniform have been killed by unidentified gunmen since last July 1, most of them accused of direct involvement with drugs. I think this is the reason why President Duterte has been saying that he is losing an average of three policemen a day in the war versus drugs.

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Five months after he assumed the top PNP post, what the Chief,PNP needs now is the full support of his men in going after their crooked cops who have been giving the organization a bad name, many of them now unmasked and already relieved from their posts, even jailed but giving the lame excuse that they were blinded by money because of financial hardship. As they say, ‘tell that to the Marines.’

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On a personal note, I would like to say a few words about my Aunt Ellen Salting, a cheerful, fun-loving lady who was full of life until she joined our Dear Creator last Tuesday at the age of 76. I came to know Aunt Ellen—she’s the aunt of my wife Candy—when she attended our wedding more than 18 years ago and I would describe her as a woman whose smile could light up a room.
   
Aunt Ellen made everyone around her happy with her positive attitude. She made sure she would be present each time I celebrate my birthday with my family and friends. She was present too when my wife gave birth to our two daughters Kyra and Camille at St. Lukes’ Quezon City where she previously worked 16 and 15 summers ago.
   
I really appreciated how much she cared and knew my family and I could always count on her. However, a very sad thing happened last Tuesday when she passed away two days after she was taken to the hospital due to an illness. It was really a shock and we will miss her everyday.
   
My prayers and condolences to her husband, Tito Eddie and daughter Sarah Beryl, husband Rob and daughter Symone, another daughter Loren, brother Willy, sisters Bella and Gloria and the entire Palenzuela and Salting families. We will miss you  Auntie Ellen.