Reli L. German: Bato-bato sa langit, ang dalas naman magngitngit!
“They may have assumed they are on the good side, that they have halos on their heads and the PNP are the demons holding tridents. They apparently look at the police as Satan.”
This was Philippine National Police Chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa expressing deep resentment over what he claimed is the “demonic” depiction of the police in the “Stop the Killing, Start the Healing” activity last Nov. 5 which was intended as a call for an end to extra-judicial killings of drug suspects.
The event was led by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) which asks for a 33-day praying of the Holy Rosary up to December 8. After Mass at the EDSA Shrine, an estimated 5,000 participants marched a kilometer to the People Power monument for a brief rally.
In an obvious dig at the Church, the PNP Chief said there is no difference between police scalawags and priests who also commit misdeeds. The policeman committing crimes and the priest committing lies “will both be held accountable before the Lord,” he said.
It was the latest emotional outburst of Bato who has become overly sensitive to criticisms about the numerous deaths in the anti-drug campaign. Previous to that, he said those who are hitting the police are ingrates since they benefit from the peace and order situation arising out of the PNP’s war against drugs.
“You can criticize us to high heavens but I can tell you straight sa inyong mga mata, sabihin ko kayo ingrato kayo. Alam ko nakikinabang kayo sa peace and order na idinulot ng war on drugs. Ako naman bubuwelta ako sa inyo,” dela Rosa fumed. In more down-to-earth parlance of ordinary folks, ingrato translates to “walang utang na loob” which any Filipino would consider as definitely debasing.
Bato’s bellicose words immediately drew a chorus of condemnation from netizens, media, human rights groups and Congress. Among those who denounced him were Senate President Koko Pimentel III, Senators Ralph Recto and Franklin Drilon, Congressmen Ruffy Biazon, Tom Villarin, Gary Alejano, and Harry Roque and former Senator Rene Saguisag.
Had he known that he would later become the president’s spokesman, Roque may have refrained from unleashing a stinging rejoinder to Bato. At that time, he sternly told the PNP chief that public officers should not expect gratitude for a job well done because it is their duty to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities.
“Before you call your critics ingrates, you should first produce the inquest proceedings of all the deaths committed in the PNP’s war on drugs. Without these reports, the peace and order you claim that people are now enjoying is highly suspect.” In effect, the now hollow block hurler wanted Bato to leave no stone unturned in probing the deaths attributed to the police. Since both of them are now diehard Dutertards, perhaps Bato has cast off any ill feeling toward Roque for the latter’s disparaging words.
The PNP Chief also had heated exchanges with Senator Antonio Trillanes IV during a Senate hearing in August last year. Trillanes had badgered him on the EJK issue, the vigilante killings and the death of Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Sr. of Albuera, Leyte who was shot dead inside his prison cell by police officers.
At the same time, it would be reasonable to assume that dela Rosa may be harboring a volcanic “ngitngit hanggang langit” rage against Senator Dick Gordon who nicknamed him “Batogan” last July 13 for his alleged failure to neutralize the riding-in-tandem killers. That, of course, is a devastating insult to hurl at the PNP Chief.
An extremely agitated Bato later said the senator should be reminded that “a batugan, when he gets angry, can become a bato-machinegun.” Wow, “rat-ratan na ba?”