MANILA - Senator Ronald Dela Rosa on Tuesday said he would not recommend a new police chief to President Rodrigo Duterte as he still felt "guilty" after backing the appointment of former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde who was tagged in the alleged involvement of anti-narcotics officials in the resale of illegal drugs.
Prior to his retirement from the police force in 2018, Dela Rosa - Duterte's first police chief - had told the President that then-National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) head Albayalde would be a suitable replacement for the top PNP post.
"Medyo nagi-guilty ako kahit di niya (Duterte) ako sinisisi personally," Dela Rosa told reporters.
"Nasa isip niya (Duterte), 'L**** itong si Bato, siya nag-recommend nito (Albayalde).' Hindi niya sinabi pero alam ko naman pano mag-isip si Presidente," he said.
A Senate probe earlier this year revealed that Pampanga policemen who allegedly tampered with evidence to resell millions-worth of confiscated narcotics were promoted, instead of punished, during Albayalde's stint as the province's police chief.
Sixteen of 17 Senate Blue Ribbon Committee members signed a report that recommended the filing of graft and drug charges against Albayalde and the 13 policemen who were dubbed as "ninja cops."
Though slightly dismayed by Albayalde's involvement in the controversy, Dela Rosa clarified that he does not regret recommending his successor.
"Basta ako ang binasehan ko sa kaniya, his performance as NCRPO chief which he performed very well. Yun nga lang may past siya na nakalkal that led to his downfall," Dela Rosa said.
"He was just haunted by his past," he said.
Albayalde stepped down from the PNP leadership in October, days before his mandatory retirement in November.
Duterte has yet to appoint Albalayde's replacement, saying the task has proven to be "difficult."
"It's kind of a... Hindi naman messy but... It's very hard to at this time to choose a candidate na... who would really... the appropriate guy. Mahirap eh,” the President told reporters in October.