DAVAO CITY - Former police and corrections chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Tuesday guaranteed the public that he would not be a lapdog of the Palace, as he is poised to get a seat in the Senate after placing in the top half of the midterm polls based on partial, unofficial results.
Dela Rosa, quoting the late President Manuel L. Quezon, said his loyalty to his party ends where his loyalty to the country begins.
“Ako ay magiging supportive, magiging cooperative (I will be supportive, I will be cooperative), but I will never be dictated to by Malacañang,” Dela Rosa told ANC.
“Kapag nakita mong hindi maganda ang kapupuntahan nito, masyadong selfish, masyadong personal, masyadong pangsarili itong mga agenda na gustong iendorso ng pangulo, eh siguro naman ‘di tayo bobo na suportahan natin.”
(If you see that it will not be good, too selfish, too personal, if the agenda that the president wants to pursue is too selfish, we are not that stupid to support it.)
Dela Rosa, who served as President Rodrigo Duterte's top cop in Davao City during his time as Mayor, was Malacañang's chief enforcer of the anti-drug campaign when he was national police chief.
By all indications successful in his maiden political bid, Dela Rosa said he was sure that Duterte would make decisions with the best interest of the country in mind.
Dela Rosa has garnered 18.25 million votes, with election returns from 95.11 percent of clustered precincts counted, based on data from the Commission on Elections transparency server.
The former police chief and soon-to-be lawmaker, known for his quirky personality and sometimes controversial statements, said he would change nothing about himself when he enters the Senate.
“I was voted [for] by more than 18 million Filipino people because of who I am, so I don’t need to repackage myself,” he said.
He said his top priority when he becomes a lawmaker is to push for the reimposition of the death penalty, at least for big-time drug traffickers. He said he would also support Duterte’s other legislative priorities.
“That’s why I ran because I got the President’s endorsement. If i was not endorsed by the President, I won’t be foolish enough to run,” he said.
“I know it’s important to maintain the principle of checks and balances between co-equal branches of government, but I also made it clear that I ran because I want to support the programs of the President.”