BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Who does not want to be senator?, thus said controversial Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa when asked if he may run for senator after his retirement.
On DZMM Teleradyo on Thursday, April 11, Bato said he is open to the idea of taking a crack at a Senate seat in the 2019 midterm elections.
Bato has become the most controversial figure in the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, largely due to his role in the highly-criticized anti-illegal drugs campaign.
The Duterte administration is accused by human rights groups as behind the thousands of extra-judicial killings of drug suspects sent to bloody deaths as soon as President Duterte took office last year.
Human rights groups – including the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the US-based Human Rights Watch and the European Union Parliament, among others – allege that the Philippine police is behind the extrajudicial killings, and Bato is at the center of legislative inquiries, in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, looking into the bloodbath
I am not plastic Who does not want to be a senator? I am not directly saying I am going to run. But that is nice, I can help the nation more. Why not?, said Bato who spoke in Pilipino in the interview.
Bato, who is to retire from government service in January next year, said jumping into politics is an option.
The Davao-born PNP chief whose nickname means “stone,” said this option includes facing mudslinging in the event he would run for senator.
I am open to demolition jobs, including from those running for senators who will find ways to destroy me, he said.
Bato said his option to run for senator in the 2019 elections, will have no bearing in his present job.
Critics, from the ranks of the human rights groups, civil society and the Catholic Church, have made a virtual punching bag out of the PNP chief for his role in President Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.
I am not trying to please anyone. If there is a job to be done, I will do it, said Bato.
Another option he is considering after his retirement is a Cabinet post in the Duterte administration.
If President Duterte still needs my services, I am still healthy, he said. In his early years in the police service, Bato once served as chief of the Davao City Police Office under then Davao City Mayor Duterte.