How Duterte's 'Rock' plans to crush crime

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2016 08:52 PM | Updated as of Sep 30 2016 10:27 AM

'KAKAYANIN.' Suppressing criminality in just six months may be a tall order, but the next Philippine National Police (PNP) director general is positive that he can deliver on this mandate from presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Chief Superintendent Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, Duterte's anointed top cop, shared Thursday his two-pronged plan to stamp out crime: bolstering intelligence-gathering from the public while policing the PNP's own ranks. 

Dela Rosa told radio dzMM that public cooperation is crucial in efforts to weed out criminals. He said he proved this as police chief of Davao City, where residents tip off lawmen about illegal activities. 

"Iyung impormasyon, dumarating na lang nang kusa at iyung police, all we have to do is conduct operation na lang kaagad," he said. 

But the 54-year-old, one-star general stressed that such practice can only exist if the public trusts authorities. 

"Two-way iyan, 'di ba? Kung ang pulis mo, credible, mapagkatiwalaan, ang kooperasyon ng ating mga sibilyan, mga kababayan, it will come naturally," he reasoned. 

"Pero kung wala namang kredibilidad ang pulis, sasabihin na walang kwenta ang mga pulis, mga suba iyan, hindi rin mag-cooperate ang ating taumbayan." 

To gain the public's confidence, Dela Rosa said he will weed out scalawag members of the 160,000-strong PNP. 

"Napaka-importante iyung internal policing na gagawin natin... Sisiguraduhin natin na bago tayo maglinis sa bakuran ng iba, sariling bakuran muna natin ang lilinisin natin," he said. "Wala tayong moral ascendancy na magpatupad ng batas kung iyung tao mismo natin, hindi natin ma-disiplina."

Dela Rosa said he already holds a list of policemen who are under tight watch due to their alleged involvement in nefarious activities. 

But he refused to detail the ranks and number of these policemen, saying with a chuckle: "Baka mamaya may mamatay na heneral diyan, ako ang pagbintangan." 

He also guaranteed that under his leadership, the PNP will not condone any wrongdoing. 

"Hindi na ito panahon para mag-cover-cover ng mga kalokahan ng mga kasamahan natin. Panahon na ito para puksain ang mga g*** na iyan," he said. 

SHOOT TO KILL 

Dela Rosa also defended the "shoot-to-kill" orders that Duterte plans to give policemen. 

The incoming PNP chief pointed out that Duterte is a lawyer and is well aware that this order only applies to armed suspects who would resist arrest. 

He added that it is only natural for policemen to fire back against resisting suspects. "Kung makipaglaban sa pulis, talagang kailangan patayin mo. Gusto mo bang ikaw ang mamatay? You have to fight," he said. 

This may be the same principle behind Dela Rosa's advise for drug syndicates to stock up on arms and prepare to fight it out with policemen.

"Sa ngayon pa lang, hindi pa kami nag-start ng aming kampanya, mag-imbak na sila ng maraming bala at baril. Be ready to fight. Advise ko sa inyo, lumaban kayo nang husto, mga drug lord. Talagang uupakan namin kayo," he said. 

"Mag-ready sila. Kailangang makipaglaban sila sa amin para matapos ang problema natin sa droga." 

CLOSE TIES WITH DUTERTE 

"The Rock" was a young lieutenant of the Philippine Constabulary when he met Duterte in 1986. Duterte was then acting vice-mayor of the city. 

The two eventually became friends, with Duterte even acting as principal sponsor in Dela Rosa's wedding. 

In a Facebook post last March 28, Dela Rosa called Duterte "the greatest leader on earth" as he wished his "ninong" a happy birthday. 

Dela Rosa also said Duterte is the greatest influence in his career. "I never feared to enforce the law and prevent crimes because you (Duterte) are always there watching my back," he wrote. 

Dela Rosa headed the Davao police from January 2012 to October 2013. 

He is credited for the Oplan Tuktok-Hangyo (Knock-Request), where policemen knock on the homes of suspected criminals and warn them to stop their illegal activities. 

After his stint as Davao police chief, Dela Rosa served in various assignments, including the PNP Board of Inquiry which found President Benigno Aquino "ultimately responsible" for the Mamasapano clash that killed 44 policemen in January 25, 2015. 

Dela Rosa also served as brigade commander of the PNP Reactionary Standby Support Force (RSSF). 

However, he came under fire last May for a Facebook post where he said that the RSSF will "crush" those planning to cheat on election day. 

READ: Pro-Duterte cop faces probe for FB posts

During the dzMM interview, Dela Rosa said he was relieved of his duty as RSSF brigade commander but not because of his Facebook posts. He said he was only ordered to concentrate on tasks as executive officer of the PNP Directorate for Human Resource and Doctrine Development (HRDD).

As he faces his biggest assignment yet as PNP director general, Dela Rosa said he is optimistic that he will not fail Duterte's anti-crime vow. 

"Mabigat talaga pero wala tayong magagawa, we have to do that. Optimistic naman ako na magagawa natin iyan, lalong-lalo na kung mag-cooperate ang buong community," Dela Rosa said. 

"Kakayanin. We will do everything para kayanin natin," he added. 

He also encouraged the public to cooperate with the government. "Pinili nila si Mayor Digong na magiging Presidente natin, sana mag-cooperate din sila kung ano mga programa natin patungkol sa peace and order." 

At the same time, he urged policemen to consider him as a father who will both protect and discipline his children. 

"Ang ama ng isang organization ay hindi magpapabaya sa kanyang mga anak. Kung kayo'y magtatrabaho nang matino, susuportahan ko kayo all the way... Kapag kayo'y gumagawa ng masama lalong-lalo na iyung kotong, kalokohan, patong kayo sa mga kriminal, patong kayo sa mga droga, siguraduhing didisiplinahin ko kayo," he said.