Gordon says Bato chairing Senate public order panel ‘could be a problem’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 9) — A lawmaker said Tuesday there “could be a problem” once former top cop and now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa chairs the public order committee which is probing the police and the drug war.

“Ang problema ko sa kanya [My problem with him is that] he will be the chairman on the committee on police, peace and order,” Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon told CNN Philippines’ The Source on Tuesday. “He has to wake up, slap himself in the face and say, ‘Ay senador na nga pala ako [Oh right, I’m already a senator.]’”

Gordon said this on the heels of Dela Rosa’s statement on the death of a three-year-old girl in a drug sting. The former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief said, “sh*t happens,” during police operations.

Dela Rosa has since apologized to the girl’s family after drawing flak from his fellow senators and a rights group that cast doubt on his ability to probe the drug war in the Senate.

Dapat ang sinabi ko doon, instead na ‘sh*t happens,’ dapat ‘unfortunate incidents do happen,’” he told reporters Monday.

[Translation: I should have said, “unfortunate incidents do happen” instead of “sh*t happens.”]

He also said he was hurt by criticisms against him for his remarks.

Dela Rosa had said in a media briefing last week that he would not hold Senate hearings just for show. In the same briefing, he said he felt disrespected by a senator, whom he did not name, and vowed to show this lawmaker how to behave in a hearing.

As then PNP chief, Dela Rosa was invited to several Senate probes, particularly on the conduct of the war on drugs that has resulted in the death of around 5,000 drug suspects according to government data. He cried at least two times during the hearings.