Can Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronaldo ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa control the men under his watch? There is enough evidence to say that he cannot. There were already signs earlier even before his first six months on the job was up that the burden of weeding out the bad from the good cops was too much for him to handle. During a Senate hearing in November 2016, Bato wept in frustration in front of the public and admitted “that he is finding it hard to clean their ranks from erring cops”. Some found his emotional outburst “touching”, but there were also some who thought that it was not a good sign for the Chief of police to show his weak side. We can only imagine how the psychopaths in the police force were laughing at him in secret after discovering that it would be easy to cut him down to size.
Fast forward to today and the people can only shake their heads in disappointment at the revelation that members of the police themselves kidnapped for ransom and eventually murdered South Korean businessman Ji Ick Joo in October 2016. Again, we cannot help but emphasise that this happened under Bato’s watch. There are also allegations that the police murdered by strangling the South Korean in his own vehicle while inside the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City on the same day he was kidnapped. This is simply despicable. Even more disgusting is the way the murderers disposed of his body – cremating him in a crematorium owned by a former cop. It doesn’t get any creepier than this, surely. It’s like a script from a gangster movie.
The sad part is, this actually happened and if you Google it, this is being reported all over the world. This is bad news for the current government. President Rodrigo Duterte should consider firing someone over this fiasco. Calls for Bato to resign are definitely mounting. Bato should consider stepping down to protect his honour and more importantly, to protect the integrity of the Duterte administration. Sticking around when his trust rating is going down the drain would affect his ability to lead the police force.
It is crystal clear that Bato does not command respect from some members of the PNP. He knew the existence of bad cops. He should have had a strategy to weed them out. He should have asked help from other agencies like the National Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice, the Office of the Ombudsman and state auditors to investigate and get rid of the men whose lifestyles were not consistent with their take home pay as cops.
The thought of asking Bato to resign is not easy for those who came to love his animated character. He projected an image of a mascot, sometimes even wearing a costume to work. It’s probably his way of trying to appeal to the people and revamp the image of the PNP. While it worked with some members of the public, unfortunately, his tactic also annoyed some people. They thought he should be serious, do less public relations work and do more of his real work, which includes focusing on getting rid of the bad cops under him.
To be fair, the bad cops already existed even before Bato got the job as Chief of PNP. The previous government under former President BS Aquino did not do much to fix the problem in the PNP. Corruption even got worse under the former PNP Chief Alan Purisima who was also Aquino’s buddy. The question is, what did Bato do to straighten them out? Was he expecting them to change just by telling them to change? I think it was naïve of him to think that psychopaths can change. He should have been more focused in dealing with the problem at hand. Otherwise, if he can’t handle it, he should give it to someone who can.
Even if Bato is forced to resign, it doesn’t mean he is a bad person or a loser. It will actually mean that he has honour and that he is not too full of himself. It remains to be seen though how Duterte will handle him after the revelation that he is not fit to transform the PNP.
There are people who are saying that this could be part of a demolition job by Duterte’s opponent. They say that the crime was deliberately done inside PNP headquarters to humiliate Bato and the Duterte administration. Whether or not this is true, the fact remains, there are members of the police who are willing to commit heinous crimes against innocent people instead of protecting them. That says a lot about Bato’s leadership and the war against drugs. The enemy could be outsmarting him. That’s too bad for the people. Bato should shape up or ship out for the sake of the people.