'Bato' on death of kid in police ops: S**t happens

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2019 11:58 AM | Updated as of Jul 05 2019 06:16 PM

Newly elected senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa speaks to the members of the media during a press conference at the Philippine Senate Building in Pasay City on July 04, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—It’s not a perfect world and “s**t happens”, Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said Thursday as he defended the police over the death of a 3-year-old girl in a recent police operation in Rizal.

Three-year-old Myka Ulpina died after being caught in a crossfire during an anti-narcotics operation in Rodriguez, Rizal last June 30.

Ulpina’s father, Renato, and another companion, as well as Senior Master Sgt. Conrad Cabigao, who went undercover, also died in the shootout.

The police said Renato fired at the police and used his daughter as shield. The child’s mother belied this.

Dela Rosa defended the police operation, saying families of suspected drug pushers sometimes make up stories.

“S**t happens during operations,” Dela Rosa told reporters at a press conference in the Senate.

“Aminin ko sa inyo, mayroong nangyayari na talagang in the course of operations, honest to goodness na talagang may nagiging collateral damage.”

New York-based Human Rights Watch slammed Ulpina’s death, noting that police accounts of drug raids “are not reliable because the officers enforcing the “drug war” have been shown to manufacture evidence.”

The group said the deaths of Ulpina and other children in the government’s war on drugs should prod the United Nations Human Rights Council to adopt the Iceland-initiated resolution that urges the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report on the drug war killings and other human rights violations.

Meanwhile, Dela Rosa admitted that achieving a drug-free Philippines is a tall order, after he was asked whether the 3-year-old campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte has been a success.

“At least mayroong nangyari, bumaba ang probelma, hindi na kasing lala kesa nung pumasok ang Duterte administration,” he said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this story referred to the father as Renato Dolorfina.