PNP Chief: I will account drug lords in Bilibid as next BuCor head

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Dir. Gen. Ronald dela Rosa says no one is set to replace him as PNP Chief as of now.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 2) — The national police chief bared his initial plans to fix the national penitentiary even before he leads the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

"First of all, iniisip ko lang is i-account silang lahat kung nasaan na 'yung mga drug lords diyan, titingnan ko kung anong ginagawa nila at sisiguruhin ko na hindi nila magagawa 'yung mga ginagawa nila," PNP Chief Director-General Ronald deal Rosa told CNN Philippines on Tuesday.

[Translation: First of all, I'm just thinking of accounting where the drug lords are. I'll look at what they're doing, and I'll make sure they won't be able to do whatever they are doing.]

Dela Rosa was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to the BuCor in December. His PNP term, however, was extended until April 21, also upon his request.

READ: PNP Chief: Duterte extended my term until April 21

The PNP Chief was set to retire on January 21 when he turns 56, the mandatory retirement age.

"Alam ko na ang problema (ni Duterte) andiyan sa BuCor, at binigay niya sa akin ang problema na 'yan para lutasin, so I have to do it," Dela Rosa said.

[Translation: I know Duterte's problems with the BuCor, and he gave those problems for me to solve, so I have to do it.]

 

The prison bureau has been marred with issues in the past — particularly the resurgence of drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). The former Corrections chief, Director General Benjamin Delos Santos, resigned in July 2016 over the issue.

With Duterte's anti-illegal drugs campaign in tow, the NBP was in the thick of congressional hearings on drug trade in the prison.

One of the most prominent cases is that of Senator Leila de Lima, who is detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Quezon City after reports said she facilitated and benefited from the selling of illegal drugs in NBP when she was Justice secretary.

The NBP houses high-profile security inmate Herbert Colanggo, as well as convicted carnapper Javyvee Sebastian, who both testified against de Lima.

As to who will be his successor in the PNP, Dela Rosa said he is leaving the issue to the President.

"Mahirap pangunahan si Presidente sa kanyang desisyon. Bahala na siya. Last I heard, wala pa siyang napupusuan, di pa nia alam kung sino ang ipapalit sa'kin, so let's leave it that way," he said.

[Translation: It's hard to preempt the President's decision. It's up to him. Last I heard, he has not chosen anyone to replace me, so let's leave it that way.]