MANILA - Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa on Monday fought back tears as he expressed desire to join security forces battling Maute extremists in the south.
Dela Rosa shared how during a visit to Marawi City last week, a wounded Special Action Force commando pleaded to him for a new assignment.
"Sabi sa akin, 14 years na ako sa SAF, sir, baka pwede mo akong bigyan ng tsansa na ma-assign naman malapit sa pamilya ko.' Wounded na iyung pulis, malaki ang tama sa leeg niya at saka sa likod, hirap huminga, nilapitan ko, walang ibang sinasabi," dela Rosa said.
(He told me: Sir, I've been with the SAF for 14 years. Maybe, you can give me an assignment that is close to my family. He was wounded on the neck, catching his breath, and that's all that he told me.)
"Gusto kong sabihin na, 'Sige, umuwi ka na. Ako na ang papalit sa iyo dito. Ako ang makipaglaban. I want to fight for you," Dela Rosa said, his voice shaking.
(I wanted to tell him. Go home. I will replace you. I will fight in your place. I want to fight for you.)
Some 100 people have been killed in Marawi City since fighting erupted between government forces and Maute extremists last week, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law.
If not for security complications, Dela Rosa said he would have fought alongside his men in Marawi.
"Gustong gusto ko talaga, with all my heart. I don't care kung anong mangyari sa akin," he said.
(I really want to, with all my heart. I don't care what happens to me.)
Dela Rosa added that if he could have his way, he would have transferred Marawi policemen to Metro Manila and sent "scalawag" policemen to take their place.
"Sa mga scalwag, isipin ninyo hirap na nga ang mga kasamahan natin doon, sana magbago na kayo," Dela Rosa ended his speech, while wiping tears from his eyes.
(To the scalawags, think of the hardships that your brothers in arms endure. I hope you change your ways.)