In a rare moment, the tough-talking chief of the Philippine National Police turned emotional, as he shared what transpired during his conversation with his embattled colleagues.
PNP Chief, Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa said he shares the grief of three police officials named by President Rodrigo Duterte as protectors of drug syndicates.
Chief Superintendent Bernardo Diaz, Director Joel Pagdilao, and Chief Superintendent Edgardo Tinio, all in active service, trooped to Camp Crame and meet Dela Rosa to clear their names Wednesday.
Dela Rosa said the three generals were sad and wanted to explain their side. He said he indulged them, and listened to their side, but he refused to disclose what they have talked about.
“Lahat naman kami, we agreed that the information is coming from the president, so ayun,” said Dela Rosa.
He said he "want[ed] to cry with them," referring to the three generals who were his upperclassmen.
He was reassured by the three, however, that "they will give their 100% cooperation to the investigation that will be conducted by the Napolcom."
At the end of their meeting, he then gave the three an assurance that as their "father," he will "look [after] their welfare." But if they did indeed erred,"then they have to face the music."
Dela Rosa said there may be more names in Duterte's list of scalawag cops, and he believes the chief executive may disclose them soon.
"Sa listahan ni Presidente, mukhang meron pa. I do not want to preempt him by divulging those additional information. Hintayin ninyo kung meron pa siyang ilalabas, basta my observation is I think meron pa siyang sasabihin na additional na pangalan," he said.
He said Duterte's decision to name the officials was a "moral booster, not only to the PNP, but to the whole nation."
"That is a strong message na sinasabi niyang ‘wala akong sinasanto, kahit sino kayo.’ Sabi niya nga, ‘kahit anak ko, pag involved sa drugs yung anak ko, patayin ninyo'," he said.
The morale of the policemen, he said, remains to be "very high" despite the latest controversy.
"Ito ay mga pagsubok lamang. Dadaan rin ito, lilipas rin ito. Itong mga turmoil na dumaan sa organization, this is part kung paano mo pagagandahin yung organisasyon. Part and parcel of the process yan."
Duterte earlier ordered the National Police Commission (Napolcom) to investigate the officials.
--with reports from Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News