MANILA - Just a joke.
This was how Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa explained his statement calling on PNP chaplains and cops to pray for rain on Wednesday, in time for the next wave of Marcos burial protests.
"Ako, nagbibiro lang ako doon, pero may laman yung biro ko," PNP Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa told ANC's Headstart with Karen Davila Tuesday.
(I was only joking there, but there was some meaning in my joke.)
"Pasensya na kung na-offend sila," he added, while asserting anti-Marcos protesters would know his plight too if they traded places.
(I apologize if they were offended.)
He argued, he was also anti-Marcos before, recalling that he was a first-class cadet during the People Power ousting former President Ferdinand Marcos, and they were being prepped to reinforce Manila-based Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM). They were later instructed to defend the ports instead of flying to Manila.
"Ako rin anti-Marcos noon, pero itong ngayon, magpalit nga tayo. Silang anti-Marcos tapos ako. Mag-switch kami ng pwesto—sila mag-Chief PNP. Tingnan natin kung hindi sila magdasal ng rain," he said.
Dela Rosa maintained, as the national top cop, he is responsible for ensuring protesters' safety.
"To be frank about it, to be candid about it, ikaw ang Chief PNP, pag may malakihang rally, nagka-gulo yan, maraming masaktan, hindi ba kargo de konsensesiya mo yan?"
(To be frank about it, to be candid about it, you're the Chief PNP, when there is a big rally and trouble erupts and many are hurt, wouldn't that fall on your conscience?)
"So para walang mangyayaring ganun, mas maganda nang may ulan para walang protesta, para walang gulo. Ako naman ay gusto ko kayong walang gulo. Yun lang ang sa akin," he said.
(It would be better to rain and cancel the protest; there would be no trouble. All I want is that there is no trouble.)
But Dela Rosa insisted that he will not stop groups from converging at the People Power Monument in Quezon City.
He said, he and President Rodrigo Duterte share this stance, which they had even way back in Davao.
The protest to be staged Wednesday, in time for Bonifacio day, is in opposition to the sneaky burial of the late dictator Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani earlier this month.
READ: Late dictator Marcos buried at Libingan ng mga Bayani [embed link: https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/11/18/16/late-dictator-marcos-buried-at-libingan-ng-mga-bayani]
Dela Rosa assured protesters they will provide sufficient security, but he still appealed to demonstrators to exhibit restraint.
"Yung normal lang, mga patrol cars, saka mga tao lang na magmo-monitor lang na walang mangyayaring masama doon sa mga rallyista, but we don’t have to stop them at dasal ko lang naman at sana, nakiusap ako sa kanila na sana wag naman sila manggulo," he said.
"They just express their protest, kung anong gusto nila, all their grievances; pero not to the point na manira sila ng establishment, manakit sila ng tao or mang-impede sila ng movement ng motorista. They can have all they want," he added.