Do not underestimate Bato, Palace tells critics

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 16) — Malacañang on Thursday said senatorial bets should not be underestimated for their lack of formal legal background.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, in his media briefing, shrugged off criticisms on the latest remarks and admission of former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa.

He urged detractors not to belittle Dela Rosa, one of the high-ranking candidates based on the partial election tally, as the latter boasts of a solid academic background.

Nakakalimutan ng mga kumekwestyon sa kapasidad ni General Bato na PMA (Philippine Military Academy) graduate ito. Hindi ba ang PMA graduate is known for their intellect, ang kagalingan nila,” Panelo told reporters.

[Translation: Those who question his capacity seem to forget that General Bato is a PMA graduate. Aren’t PMA graduates known for their intellect, their capabilities?]

Pinalalabas nila na abogado lang nandyan, kasi legislation 'yan. Wag natin maliitin,” he added.

[Translation: They’re making it appear as if only lawyers should be there in the Senate, because it’s legislation. Let’s not underestimate him.

The spokesman cited cases of other senators who assumed office without any background in legislation, including another PMA graduate Ping Lacson, actor-politician and current Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, and boxer-turned-lawmaker Manny Pacquiao.

Wala rin alam sa legislation noong siya'y pumasok. Oh diba naging magaling na legislator?” Panelo added.

[Translation: They were not knowledgeable with legislation when they entered, but became good legislators, right?]

CNN Philippines’ interview with former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa made rounds online Tuesday evening, after the senatorial candidate admitted he has yet to learn what a senator really does.

Dela Rosa, one of the leading bets based on partial, official election tally, added he will also take part in lawmaking seminars should he win a Senate seat.

Panelo noted Dela Rosa should even be commended for admitting that he has yet to learn the ropes of lawmaking.

Dela Rosa, who also previously served as the Corrections Bureau chief, was part of the PMA Class of 1986. He also collected his Master’s in Public Administration and doctorate degree in Development Administration at the University of Southeastern Philippines in Davao City.

READ: Sotto: Senate ready to assist, orient new members