Ex-PNP chief ‘Bato’ votes in Senate polls

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 13 2019 09:23 AM | Updated as of May 14 2019 06:57 AM

DAVAO CITY - Former police and corrections bureau chief, Senate aspirant Ronald dela Rosa on Monday morning cast his vote in the midterm polls, as the government’s drug war continued to receive strong public approval.

The former police chief cast his vote at the Apolinar Franco Sr. Elementary School in his hometown in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur province past 8 a.m.

Upon arrival, Dela Rosa refused to get accommodated ahead of other voters.

“Pagdating ko ayokong may VIP treatment sa akin. Gusto ko pa rin pumila kasi nakakahiya naman sa lahat na pumipila... Their vote is as important as my vote,” Dela Rosa said in a chance interview before casting his vote. 

(I don't want to have VIP treatment when I arrive. I still want to line up because I'll be embarrassed not to because others did.) 

Dela Rosa, a key figure in the first 3 years of the Duterte administration's anti-drug campaign, is running for senator on a platform of pursuing the President's policies including revival of the death penalty.​

Dela Rosa ranked 4-9 in the May 3-6 survey of Pulse Asia.

A victory for Dela Rosa would reaffirm public support for the drug war, but University of the Philippines political science department head Ela Atienza said the administration must still tread carefully as majority of Filipinos still take issue with the deaths linked to it.

If he wins, Dela Rosa’s term as senator will end 3 years after Duterte steps down. For UP political science professor Aries Arugay, being in the halls of the Senate will give Dela Rosa some protection from any prosecution in connection with the war on drugs.

“If he wins, it might be more difficult for cases like that [to prosper]. Remember, the Senate protects its own, especially if you are part of the majority,” Arugay said.

“The Senate will not protect you if you are not part of the majority. If these cases progress while he is a sitting senator, you can count on protection both by the government as well as the Senate.”