MANILA - (3rd UPDATE) President Rodrigo Duterte will retain Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa as chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) despite calls for the latter’s resignation.
Duterte said Dela Rosa has his “complete trust” amid issues hounding the PNP following the death of South Korean businessman Ick Joo Jee inside Camp Crame and reported “tokhang for ransom” incidents.
The President, who attended Dela Rosa's birthday celebration in Camp Crame, added he will not be where he is today if not for Dela Rosa.
Dela Rosa, for his part, said he offered his resignation to the President but the latter declined.
"Pagdating niya sa loob ng receiving hall, kinorner ko siya, nag-one on one kami, matapos ko siya i-hatid sa CR. Pagkalabas niya ng CR, pinaupo ko sya. Nag-usap kami. Sa Bisaya man, 'Unsa man sir, pinapa-resign ako?
"'No, resign ma ka? Bakit ka mag-resign, ano kasalanan mo? Mag-trabaho ka.' Continue daw. Padayon, continue," he narrated.
(When he arrived at the receiving hall, I cornered him and we had a one on one. After I accompanied him to the CR, I asked him to sit down. We talked. I told him in Bisaya, 'What now, sir, they are asking me to resign?' He said, 'Why will you resign, what did you do wrong? Do your job.' He told me to continue. Padayon, continue.)
Dela Rosa added that Duterte knows him well, and knows what he is capable of.
"I know the President very well at alam niya kung sino ako at kung ano ako, at kung ano ginagawa ko. Alam niya lahat yan," Dela Rosa said.
(I know the President very well and he knows who I am, and what I am, and what I do. He knows all of that.)
Calls for Dela Rosa to resign erupted last week after he admitted that Jee was killed inside Camp Crame.
Netizens took to social media to express their disappointment with the PNP chief with the hashtag #BatoResign.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez also joined the call for Dela Rosa’s resignation “to save President Duterte from further embarrassment.”
Dela Rosa has previously said he is willing to leave his post if Duterte orders him to do so.
An “outraged” Malacañang on Sunday also assured the public that there will be no cover-up in Jee’s death.
"We assure everyone that there will be no whitewash or cover-up," Presidential Spokesperson Ernersto Abella said.
"We will not tolerate corrupt, abusive, errant policemen who betray the organization and the men and women in uniform who continue their faithful, dedicated and loyal service to the country," he added.