MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday quipped that Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa wants to run for governor.
“Itong si Bato, gusto mag-governor. Si Sal Panelo, gusto mag-artista,” Duterte said in his speech during the celebration of the 116th anniversary of the Bureau of Customs, referring to his police chief and chief legal counsel.
The President did not mention which province Dela Rosa supposedly wants to lead.
Duterte’s comment triggered laughter among the audience, including Dela Rosa himself.
It was not the first time the idea of Dela Rosa running for public office was floated. In October last year, he said he was open to running for the Senate in 2019.
Dela Rosa is set to retire on April 21 this year, after his term was extended by the President for three months.
Duterte had earlier announced Dela Rosa would take the helm of the Bureau of Corrections upon exit from the PNP.
The police officer was a young lieutenant of the Philippine Constabulary when he met Duterte in 1986. Duterte was then acting vice-mayor of Davao City.
Dela Rosa and Duterte eventually became friends, with the latter even acting as principal sponsor in the officer's wedding. He also served as Davao City police chief.
As PNP chief, Dela Rosa has led Duterte's war on drugs, which has seen nearly 4,000 drug suspects killed. Activists have claimed that the executions in anti-drug sweeps were commonplace, which police deny.