With PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa now under intense pressure to step down over the killing of South Korean Jee Ick-joo inside the headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP), we need to ask two questions:
1. Should Bato resign?
It’s a matter of command responsibility. Jee was killed right inside Camp Crame, where Bato himself holds office. While no one thinks that Bato had a hand in the murder, there are still two matters that should push him to resign:
- He knew what happened.
- He didn’t know what happened.
In either case, Bato finds himself in a bind. If he knew what happened (a), why didn’t he do anything about it? Why did he react only when news of it came out?
The other possibility (b) is slightly more disturbing: If he didn’t know about it, then what does that say about his leadership and his hold on his men?
We’ve always criticized and bashed government officials who have refused to step down even in the face of grave scandal. Bato should be no different. He should take the high ground and submit his resignation to the President. Some would call it delicadeza. I call it common sense.
2) Should Duterte accept his resignation?
Everyone makes mistakes. Bato deserves a chance to rectify a wrong situation. As many people have pointed out, he had inherited a system so rotten that it continues to fester even under pressure from a President and PNP chief who threaten to kill every bad egg. Incidents like this are bound to happen, and it will take more than six-and-a-half months to clean the police organization.
Bato should also be allowed to continue the good work he has done. I know quite a few people who don’t like Duterte, but they root for Bato because they see the result of the PNP’s war against drugs.
Besides, if Duterte accepts his resignation, what chance would the country have?