MANILA — Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa expressed disappointment over the alleged involvement of a number of police personnel in what some described as a “breakdown” of the criminal justice system in Negros Oriental.
“Baka akala ninyo masaya ako sa aking kinarororoonan ngayon, na ako ang nag-iimbestiga sa inyo,” the former Philippine National Police chief said while holding back tears and addressing not only the police officers present at the hearing but the PNP as a whole.
He had to take a sip of water before continuing.
“Napatapos ko ang pag-aaral ng aking mga anak at kayo rin napagtapos ninyo ang pag-aaral ng inyong mga anak dahil sa PNP. Kaya dapat makonsensya kayo, 'yung mga may ginagawang masama,” Dela Rosa said, who is also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.
In the past three days of hearings, a number of witnesses testified to the alleged harassment and killings of policemen in Negros Oriental, and linked them to Congressman Arnolfo Teves Jr. and former Governor Henry Teves.
“Bugbog na bugbog na 'yung ating organization, 'yung ating institution. Maawa naman kayo,” Dela Rosa said.
According to Senator Bong Revilla, “drastic changes” to keep PNP personnel on the ground more accountable are needed.
“What policy can we enact to further capacitate our police officers and to ensure that their independence as an institution isn’t compromised? Maybe ang pag-a-amend sa local government code to isolate appointment of local PNP Officers from LGU officials is one step we should equip our law enforcers so they will not be intimidated by those in power,” Revilla said.
Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo expressed her gratitude to Dela Rosa and to the other senators for hearing their side.
“Na-aappreciate namin ang panahon, oras at pagkakataon na marinig ninyo. Nakikita na namin ang ray of hope, this will be the beginning of a better Negros Oriental. We are all hoping and praying,” Degamo told the senators.
Dela Rosa suspended the hearing but did not set a date for when the next hearing will be held.