MANILA - The head of the Philippine National Police said Monday that he is open to a possible run for the Senate in 2019.
Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, who will step down as PNP chief in January, said he is not closing the door on politics if this would mean serving the public in another capacity. He clarified however that he is content with being a policeman for now.
"Kung may tsansa, depende na sa sitwasyon. I am open for anything. Pero sa ngayon, wala pa sa isip ko 'yan. Trabaho lang muna ako bilang pulis," Dela Rosa said at a forum at Kamuning Bakery in Quezon City.
(If there is an opportunity, it would depend on the situation, I am open for anything. But for now, that has not crossed my mind. I'm focused on my police duty.)
Asked if he wants to be appointed to another post, the 55-year-old Dela Rosa said he will let President Rodrigo Duterte decide.
"Handa na ako magretire at magrelax. Kung bibigyan ako ng another trabaho, hindi ko pwedeng iturn down si Presidente. Malaki ang utang na loob ko sa kanya."
"Kung mabigyan ng another na trabaho, hindi ko puwedeng i-turn down si Presidente. Malaki ang utang na loob ko sa kanya kaya kung sabihin niyang magtrabaho ka muna habang Presidente ako, I'm very much willing to work under him," Dela Rosa said.
(If I will be given another job, I cannot turn down the President. I owe him a huge debt of gratitude so if tells me to continue working while he is still President, I'm very much willing to work under him.)
Dela Rosa was a young lieutenant of the Philippine Constabulary when he met Duterte in 1986. Duterte was then acting vice-mayor of the city.
The two eventually became friends, with Duterte even acting as principal sponsor in Dela Rosa's wedding.
Dela Rosa has since led Duterte's war on drugs, which has seen 3,800 drug suspects killed while allegedly resisting arrest. Activists have claimed that the executions in anti-drug sweeps were commonplace, which police deny.
Dela Rosa and Vice President Leni Robredo were guests of honor at Kamuning Bakery's celebration of World Bread Day.
The top cop promised to support Robredo's political plans if she "helps" the President.
"Sana tulungan n'ya ang Presidente. She will have her time. Pagkatapos nito [ng Duterte administration], kung gusto nyang maging Presidente, suportahan natin siya," Dela Rosa told reporters.
(I hope she would help the President. She will have her time. After the Duterte administration, if she wants to be President, we will support her.)
Report from Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News