ILOILO CITY - Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa is ready to pass the torch to his successor after almost 2 years of leading the 185,000-strong force.
He is confident that National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Oscar Albayalde will continue the programs of the police, particularly the government's anti-illegal drug campaign.
"Number one, continue the fight," the outgoing PNP chief said.
"Nandito na tayo, nabasa na tayo, maligo na lang tayo. Naligo na tayo, magsabon na rin tayo. Nagsabon na tayo, eh di magbanlaw na tayo. Para totally malinis na ang ating komunidad. 'Yun ang aking habilin sa kaniya."
Dela Rosa was designated to the top post in July 2016 and was supposed to step down in January 2018. However, his term was extended by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Albayalde, on the other hand, has been on the front line for conducting surprise inspections in police stations and catching police officers sleeping and drinking while on duty.
Both police officials are members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) "Sinagtala" Class of 1986.
Purging rogue officers from the PNP ranks will continue, Dela Rosa said.
"Although hindi pa naman perfect ang ating PNP organization, every time and then, may mababalitaang may pulis na sangkot sa katiwalian, but hindi na ganun ka grabe as before, at saka alam nila na nahuhuli 'yan dahil ina-address natin ang problema," he said.
"Hindi tayo nag-de-deny...na merong scalawag na pulis. Tanggap natin 'yan at ginagawan ng paraan para ma-address ang problema at mabago ang sitwasyon."
Despite being under fire for its bloody war on drugs, Dela Rosa believed he was able to rebuild the trust of the masses to the police.
"I think I was able to bring the PNP closer to the people," he said, which he considered as his biggest legacy.
Data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) showed that as of March 20, 2018, 4,075 drug-linked individuals have been killed while 91,704 anti-illegal drug operations have been carried out since the president assumed office in July 2016.
Dela Rosa and Albayalde were in Iloilo to attend the wake of their mistah or classmate who passed away due to an illness. - report from Joyce Ann Clavecillas, ABS-CBN News