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Leni on 'political ambition': I don't even have mascots, standees

Philippine National Police Director Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa and his mascot version make the closed fist sign of President Rodrigo Duterte at the launch of the 911 emergency hotline at Camp Crame, August last year. Presidential Communications Office/Released, file

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday took a jab at Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa after he told her to let go of alleged political ambition and help President Rodrigo Duterte instead.

"Actually, actually the statement is funny. I joked that [Director General Dela Rosa] will know if I have political ambition if I already have a mascot and mall standee," Robredo quipped at the launch of the Angat Kabuhayan program of the Office of the Vice President on Tuesday.

Robredo and the police chief were guests at a media forum in Quezon City on Monday when the PNP chief, asked to give the vice president a message, said in Filipino: "I hope she just helps the president. She will have her time after this."

But Robredo, in a candid reply on Tuesday, said she does not even have a mall standee, which she said indicates she has no plans to seek higher office.

Bato in standee, mascot and comic book form

Dela Rosa, August last year, presented a mascot, puppet, and a comic book featuring himself which he said, is boost to the government's war against drugs that turned out to be bloody.

The police headquarters in Camp Crame also has standees of the police chief. The standees can also be found in some malls.

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Last October, Dela Rosa even put up a Halloween edition of the standee in Camp Crame.

The police chief, last May, said that he is open to the possibility of gunning for a Senate seat on the mid-term elections in 2019.

In an interview at the DZMM, he said: "If I could be of help to the country by being a senator, why not? Who doesn't want to be a senator."

The national police chief was also often on TV and at public events earlier this year, earning him criticism from House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in January.

Alvarez accused the PNP chief of being more interested in having a showbiz career, singing videoke and watching concerts.

Before Alvarez rebuked Dela Rosa, the police official was spotted in Pasay City as part of the government's campaign against illegal drugs. The PNP chief performed with a band and urged the attendees to support the government’s war on drugs.

He was also spotted watching the Bryan Adams concert at the Smart Araneta Coliseum soon after the performance.

Robredo has repeatedly denied gunning for the chief executive position. The former Camarines Sur representative even hesitated to run as the vice presidential candidate for the Liberal Party in 2016, saying she had no further political dreams and ambitions.

The chairperson of the now moribund party won the second highest seat in the land with a small margin of votes against former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, who has accused her of fraud.

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