MANILA, Philippines - Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa is willing to give up his post if President Duterte will ask him to do so.
Dela Rosa issued the statement yesterday amid calls for his resignation following the killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo inside PNP headquarters at Camp Crame.
“Kung papayag ang Presidente, bababa ako (If the President will allow it, I will step down). Just wait and I will talk to the President,” Dela Rosa told reporters during a shootfest at the Quezon City Police District headquarters at Camp Karingal.
Dela Rosa said he would personally ask the President if he was no longer satisfied with his performance.
He said there was no need for him to submit a resignation letter. “There is no need for such formality. I will just talk to him,” Dela Rosa said.
On Friday, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, a staunch ally of Duterte, said the PNP chief should vacate his post to spare the President from further embarrassment.
Calls for Dela Rosa’s resignation circulated on social media after he was spotted watching the Bryan Adams concert at the Araneta Coliseum on Thursday night amid the controversy that rocked the PNP.
Dela Rosa said skipping the concert would not bring back the Korean’s life.
“The victim had been killed. Will the Korean come back to life if I decided not to watch the concert?” he said during the premiere night of a movie dedicated to the Special Action Force commandos who were killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015.
He added that what’s important is that the case has been solved with the arrest of Sta. Isabel.
“What do they want me to do? For me to commit hara kiri? I would take my own life to make them happy?” Dela Rosa said.
“But hara kiri would hurt. Maybe if he goes with me, those who said that I should resign, let’s do it together,” he added.
When asked if his statement was in reply to Alvarez and other critics’ call for him to quit, Dela Rosa said, “Yes. I will accommodate them.”
“I don’t know why the killing is being directed to me personally. We have several levels of command but still I’m not avoiding it because I’m the top PNP official,” he said.
Three police officers have been linked to the kidnapping and murder of Jee.
Senior Police Officer 3 Ricky Sta. Isabel is considered the prime suspect as he allegedly strangled Jee at Camp Crame.
Sta. Isabel tagged his team leader at the PNP Anti-Illegal Drug Group, Supt. Rafael Dumlao III, as the one who ordered him to bring Jee’s remains to a funeral parlor in Caloocan City.
Dela Rosa placed Dumlao under restrictive custody and reassigned him to the Headquarters Support Service on Friday.
The third policeman, Senior Police Officer 4 Roy Villegas, is also in the custody of the PNP.
The PNP took custody of Sta. Isabel from the National Bureau of Investigation after a warrant for his arrest was issued by the Angeles City Regional Trial Court Branch 58 for kidnapping for ransom with homicide.
Dela Rosa, based on the information that he received, said Sta. Isabel threatened to pull down with him all the police officials involved in Jee’s killing.
“He was threatening Dumlao and his fellow officers,” Dela Rosa said.
“He is trying to make it appear that he is the least guilty,” he added.
Another suspect surrenders
Another suspect, Ramon Yalung, surrendered to police on Friday
night after he was included in the arrest order issued by the court.
Anti-Kidnapping Group legal officer Supt. Dennis Wagas said Yalung, 29, turned himself in to clear his name. “He is claiming innocence and a victim of mistaken identify,” Wagas said.
Wagas earlier said Yalung was identified by Jee’s housemaid as among the suspects who forcibly took the Korean businessman from his house in Angeles City on Oct. 18 last year.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno said heads would roll as a result of Jee’s killing.
Sueno vowed that all policemen involved in the murder would be held accountable for the crime.
The PNP chief said he has one wish for his birthday – that all rogue policemen would reform.
“My wish is for the Lord to clear the minds of these policemen involved in syndicates,” Dela Rosa said.
He turned 55 yesterday.
Dela Rosa expressed hope that police officers involved in drug deals and other illegal activities would mend their ways.
“I hope the Lord would reconstruct their brains,” he said.
Dela Rosa said the controversy would not deter him from leading the government’s war on drugs.