PNP Chief warns rogue policemen: Your days are numbered

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  • PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa says he is the right hand of President Rodrigo Duterte in the all-out war against crime, illegal drugs and corruption as he leads and cleanses the 160,000-strong police force.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) – Ronald dela Rosa, the former Davao City police chief who talks tough like his mentor, President Rodrigo Duterte, officially assumed the top post of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday, warning rogue policemen their days are numbered.

In change of command ceremonies at Camp Crame, Dela Rosa was raised in rank from one-star Chief Superintendent to four-star Director General of the PNP. Duterte himself replaced his epaulet.

“We will be relentless in our internal cleansing efforts. We have to eliminate scalawags from within our ranks,” Dela Rosa said in his strongly-worded message to the 160,000-strong national police force.

 “Kayong mga kotong, abusadong, tamad at sindikatong pulis, bilang na ang mga araw niyo,” Dela Rosa warned.

[Translation: Those of you who are corrupt, abusive, and syndicate members, your days are numbered.]


Despite the sometimes humorous allusions in his message, Dela Rosa was serious.

“This has to stop right now or I will stop you from enjoying your evil life. I promise you, change is coming including your birthday which will be changed to November 2,” Dela Rosa said.

WATCH: The 'Bato' we don't know

He gave rogue officers 48 hours to surrender to him and reveal everything they know about illegal activities, “otherwise mag-AWOL na lang kayo at mag full time drug lord na lang at makipagyera kayo sa amin.”

[Translation: Otherwise, go on AWOL and be full-time drug lords and fight us.]

“In our fight against drugs, criminality and corruption, it is either you are with me, or you are not with me. If you are with me then let’s do it. If you are not with me then you are finished,” he said, echoing Duterte’s call on Filipinos to join the rough ride he expects during his presidency.


But can he deliver?

The circulation of illegal drugs in Davao City dropped by almost 60 percent when Dela Rosa served as its police chief from February 2012 to October 2013, according to government statistics.

He also initiated what was called “Oplan Tukhang” – short for “tuktok ug hangyo” – which means “knock and appeal” in Visayan. Police officers would knock on the doors of known drug dealers or users and appeal or warn them to stop their activities.

One of his biggest accomplishments was the rescue of a kidnap victim from Metro Manila who was brought all the way to Davao City by her abductors in July 2013.

Also read: Dela Rosa is next PNP chief

Dela Rosa and Duterte

Dela Rosa pledged his “endless and unquestionable loyalty” to Duterte, who also gave notice to corrupt policemen that he will go after them.

“I become the chief PNP only once so I better give it all and give my best shot,” Dela Rosa said. “I swear I will not fail you, Mr. President.”

He said it was his “God-given mission to become Duterte’s right-hand man” in the fight against drugs, crime and corruption to ensure a safe, secure and comfortable life for Filipinos.

Also read: Davao City ordinances that may be implemented nationwide under a Duterte presidency

Dela Rosa, a bald barrel-chested officer, has been nicknamed “Bato,” or rock, not only for his muscular build but also because he hails from the dirt poor Barangay Bato in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.

Despite his tough exterior, however, Dela Rosa has a soft spot for his men.

“To all members of the PNP, beginning today I am your father, a father who loves and takes care of his children, rewards his well-performing children and punishes his erring children,” Dela Rosa said.

Dela Rosa appealed to Filipinos to help their police and be the PNP’s “prayer warriors.”

Ipagdasal niyo po kami na sana kami ay magtatagumpay sa aming misyon, na sana kami ay wag magkakamali at higit sa lahat di namin maabuso ang karapatang pantao.”

[Translation: Pray that we succeed in our mission, that we hopefully do not commit mistakes and most of all, that we do not abuse human rights.]