MANILA – Former police and corrections chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Saturday challenged his detractors to an IQ test after drawing flak for his admission that he needed training for his new duties as senator.
"Ang katalinuhan ng tao doon 'yan nasusukat sa IQ test. 'Yung tumutuligsa sa akin na ako'y bobo, sabay tayo, mag-exam tayo ng IQ test kung sino mas mataas sa atin ang IQ," said Dela Rosa, consistently in the top 12 of the senatorial race in the ongoing count.
(Intelligence is measured by an IQ test. To those who say I'm stupid, let's both take an IQ exam to see who has a higher IQ.)
Dela Rosa, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy and holder of a master's degree in public administration and a doctorate in development administration from the University of Southern Philippines, is not shy to admit his limitations and is ready to take action to improve himself.
"Bakit ka magmayabang porke't senador ka na, ayaw mong aminin na kulang ka sa alam, hindi mo tanggapin limitasyon mo (Why, just because you're a senator now, you won't admit your shortcomings, your limitations)? You should be true to yourself," he said.
He said intelligence is not measured by how fluent one is at speaking English or Tagalog, or by how well they do in debates or in delivering speeches.
"If you stop learning, you'll stop growing," said Dela Rosa, known for his candidness and humor.
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.
While known for his closeness to the President, Dela Rosa assured the public that his loyalty to his party ends where his loyalty to the Filipino people begins.
He clarified that there is a big difference between a senator who is supportive and cooperative to the administration and a senator who is under the dictates of Malacañang.
"Doon ako sa unang-una... 'yung very cooperative and supportive but not being dictated," he said.
(I'm in the first category, the one who is cooperative and supportive but not being dictated [upon])
Dela Rosa has garnered 18,763,572 votes, with election returns from 98.09 percent of clustered precincts counted, based on data from the Commission on Elections transparency server as of 11:10 a.m. Saturday.
He is expected to remain in the upper half of the rankings when the count ends.
Dela Rosa said he did not make any promises to the people just to get votes but instead vowed to actually perform.
"Ang sabi ko gagawin ko 'yan...hindi promise 'yan, gagawin ko," he said.
(What I said was I will do that. That's not a promise, I will do it.)
He added that making a promise to voters would make him sound like a "trapo" (traditional politician).
"Kakahiya, sabihing papasok pa lang ito sa pulitika trapo na kaagad ang dating," said Dela Rosa, whose senatorial bid is his first foray into an elective position.
(It would be shameful, people will say I am new in politics and I already seem like a "trapo.")
Now that he is poised to get a seat in the Senate, Dela Rosa vows to prove detractors wrong by making himself a more effective legislator, one deserving of people's votes.
"Magtrabaho nang magtrabaho, hindi matutulog, pagsikapan ng husto na 'yung mga batas na magagawa natin ay pawang magaganda at kapaki-pakinabang sa sambayanang Pilipino," Dela Rosa said.
(Work hard, don't sleep on the job, make sure that the laws that we create are good and worthwhile to the Filipino people.)