“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” –Henri Nouwen
Browsing social media, I saw former Philippine National Police (PNP) Director-General Ronald Marapon ‘Bato’ dela Rosa visited Iloilo City ahead of the All Saints’ Day observance and was interviewed by my media colleagues. I have long wanted to interview dela Rosa – even before he was named PNP chief. Now that he is no longer at the post and is running for Senate, I am more inspired to interview him – this time, as “candidate dela Rosa.”
Hopefully, we will meet soon – before, during, or after the May 2019 midterm elections. However, with the possibility of a meeting (rather an interview) is unlikely for the time being, I would like to pose a few questions for the 56-year-old senatorial candidate from Davao del Sur.
- When you were named PNP director-general on July 1, 2016, you reiterated the promises made by your top endorser, President Rodrigo Duterte, with regard to arresting or neutralizing all drug lords within the first six months of his term; however, records show you failed to deliver on this promise. Comment?
- You tearfully vowed to resign if you were unable to fulfill your promise. While you did belatedly tender your resignation, the president rejected it and extended your term at the PNP. What did you do in those remaining months to redeem yourself after failing to bag the biggest crooks, “barracudas,” in the illegal drug trade, who, as of this writing, are still at large?
- After your resignation as PNP director-general on April 19, 2018, you were “gifted” with the position of Bureau of Corrections (BOC) director from April 30, 2018 to October 12, 2018. In those six months, what changes, if any, have you implemented to improve the country’s jail and management system?
- You pushed for the restoration of the death penalty in media interviews. Has your stance been influenced after your tenure at the BOC? Or is it your belief, since the New Bilibid Prison is overcrowded and incapable of accommodating more inmates, the only solution is exterminating those who have been convicted of heinous crimes?
- While we already have an idea of your answer to this next question, in an effort to shed light on the issue for the Filipino electorate, did police engage in summary killings or extrajudicial killings during your tenure as PNP director-general? (If the answer is No: How do you explain the thousands of suspected drug personalities and drug traffickers being killed with no charges yet to be brought forward in court? | If the answer is Yes: Do you pin the blame on the commander-in-chief and claim, as a defense, you were merely an underling receiving orders like a “good soldier?” Or will you own up to “command responsibility” and be subject to a lawful and fair investigation?)
- If elected senator, will you cooperate with the United Nations Human Rights Council, who will investigate the thousands of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, which mostly involve “tambays,” impoverished drug addicts, and “small-time” drug pushers?
Hope to see you soon, Bato./WDJ