Drug lords and other criminals will have the shock of their lives once Chief Superintendent Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa takes over the reins of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Speaking at a press conference in Davao City on Thursday afternoon, dela Rosa told reporters he could not divulge exactly how he intends to follow President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s deadline to get rid of drugs and crime in three to six months.
“‘Pag binigay ko ang details alam na rin ang mga kriminal pa’no umiwas (If I give the details the criminals will know how to avoid getting caught),” he said.
“Masho-shock na lang sila (They will just get shocked),” he added.
Dela Rosa said he could only divulge plans that are already well known, including “Oplan Tokhang” which he had implemented in Davao City when he was director of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) from January 2012 to October 2013.
“Tokhang” is a portmanteau of the Visayan words “toktok” (knock) and “hangyo” (plead). Under the program, police officers went to the homes of suspected drug pushers and asked them to stop their trade.
Dela Rosa said the program was so effective it drove the drug volume down by at least 60 percent. He attributed its success to the support not just of Duterte but also of the latter’s daughter Sara who was mayor when dela Rosa first took over the DCPO.
“Tokhang was very successful in Davao because of the support of the leadership. Pero sa national level, nakikita ko na malaki ang problema (But in the national level, I see that there is a big problem). But since the mayor is now the President, and the city director is now the Chief PNP, makakaya natin ‘yan (we can do it),” he said.
While dela Rosa was mum on other details of his plan to fight crime, he was open about one thing: he will deal with corrupt police officers first.
“Uunahin ko ang mga pulis ko. Lilinisin ko ang PNP. Tatanggalin lahat ng dapat tanggalin (I will deal with the police first. I will clean the PNP. I will remove those who need to be removed),” he said.
Still, dela Rosa said he remains positive that the PNP is a clean organization. “Hindi naman siguro lahat ng pulis adik. Positive pa rin ako (I don’t think all police officers are addicts. I’m still positive),” he said.
Dela Rosa said only about one percent of the 160,000-strong PNP is corrupt. “Pero kung ang 99 percent maganda ang performance, ang one percent lang ang mapapansin ng media (But if the 99 percent perform well, the media will only notice the one percent),” he said.