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‘Bato to stay as PNP chief’; He has my complete trust – Duterte

President Duterte and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez join Director General Ronald dela Rosa during the PNP chief’s belated birthday celebration at Camp Crame last night. Dela Rosa turned 55 last Saturday.

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Duterte yesterday put to rest any uncertainty over Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa’s keeping his post.

“He stays as chief of police. Bato has my complete trust,” Duterte said during the 55th birthday celebration of Dela Rosa at PNP headquarters at Camp Crame last night. 

The President said he has put his entire trust in Dela Rosa to carry out his administration’s war on drugs.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez had called on Dela Rosa to resign following the kidnapping and grisly murder of a South Korean businessman right inside Camp Crame by members of a police team tasked to carry out Oplan Tokhang, code name for the bloody drug war.

At last night’s party, Duterte said, “Kung patanggal natin si Bato, ako at si Speaker wala dito (If we take out Bato, the Speaker and I will not be here).”

Alvarez later said, “All’s well that ends well; we’re one group here.”

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Whether the President’s decision would end feuding within his inner circle remains to be seen.

Before last night’s party, Dela Rosa had said he was insulted by the calls for him to resign, especially from another staunch Duterte supporter.

The Speaker represents a district in Davao, where Dela Rosa served as city police chief when Duterte was mayor.

Alvarez wants Dela Rosa to resign to spare the President from embarrassment over the kidnapping and murder of South Korean Jee Ick-joo.

Policemen detained Jee with a fake arrest warrant on Oct. 18 with the intent of holding him for ransom, but killed him on the same day. They extracted P5 million in ransom from Jee’s family without telling them he was dead.

Alvarez stressed there was nothing personal in his call for Dela Rosa to resign.

Dela Rosa, however shot back, and said he was insulted by the criticisms coming from an ally of the President. – With Alexis Romero

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