Davao’s ‘The Rock’ is next PNP chief
Bebot Sison Jr., Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - May 19, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – “Not only will we crush you; we will bury you.”

The warning to thugs is not from Rodrigo Duterte, but from his handpicked top cop, Chief Superintendent Ronald dela Rosa, a.k.a. “The Rock” or “Vin Diesel” of Davao City.

The next chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) served as Davao City police chief from Jan. 30, 2012 to Oct. 18, 2013 under Mayor Duterte, who will be sworn in as the nation’s 16th president at noon of June 30.

To criminals, Dela Rosa said yesterday, “Hindi lang (Not only will we) crush, we will bury you. We will bury, ililibing ko kayo (I will bury you all).”

Dela Rosa has been credited with reducing by almost 60 percent the circulation of illegal drugs in Davao City.

Duterte reportedly picked Dela Rosa, currently the executive officer of the PNP Directorate for Human Resource and Doctrine Development, over Chief Supt. Ramon Apolinario, officer-in-charge of the Mimaropa region, and Senior Supt. Rene Aspera, chief of staff of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group.

“The marching order to me is forward, march against illegal drugs. It means no turning back,” Dela Rosa told reporters yesterday at the PNP headquarters at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

Dela Rosa also warned policemen extending protection to illegal drug operations.

The incoming top cop is popularly known as “Bato” not only due to his muscular physique but because he grew up in Barangay Bato in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.

Dela Rosa has become a celebrity of sorts in Davao, thanks to his many accomplishments.

Dabawenyos call him “The Rock” or sometimes “Vin Diesel.”

Issue on seniority

The appointment as PNP chief of Dela Rosa, a member of Philippine Military Academy Class 1986, would bypass his senior officers belonging to PMA Class ‘83, ‘84 and ‘85. The incumbent PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez was a graduate of PMA Class ‘82.

Dela Rosa said he hoped the senior officers in the PNP would still respect and follow his orders.

He could not say whether he will take over the PNP on June 30, the same time Duterte assumes office, though Marquez will retire on Aug. 18, upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.

Dela Rosa is expected to bypass two deputy director generals or three-star rank, 19 directors (two-star) and 105 chief superintendents (one-star).

He joked that he could not prepare yet as the next PNP chief since his cell phone kept on ringing.

“To members of the PNP, I will be your father. I hope I won’t fail you,” he added.

Dela Rosa has a doctoral degree in Development Administration from the University of Southeastern Philippines, Davao City.

He also passed the Officers Senior Executive Course (OSEC) and Career Service Executive Eligibility (CSEE).

Dela Rosa was relieved as brigade commander of the PNP Reactionary Standby Support Force (RSSF) after he posted on his Facebook account photographs and comments seen to be in favor of a presidential candidate. But PNP chief Marquez said the relief was insignificant.

In his Facebook account, Dela Rosa posted on May 1 that he had been detailed as RSSF and threatened to “crush” those who cheat and sow terror during the May 9 elections. His post was seen to favor Duterte.

Dela Rosa served as OIC, deputy director for administration of the Intelligence Group and head of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force for Mindanao.

He attended training courses at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Ranger Course in the US, and other courses in Australia and Canada.

MUSCLE FLEXING: Chief Superintendent Ronald dela Rosa poses beside a movie poster of Vin Diesel in this Dec. 19, 2015 photo he posted on his Facebook page. He is called Bato (rock) by friends.

Dela Rosa’s five most significant accomplishments include PMA Alumni Association Cavalier Award for Outstanding Performance as Police Professional in Police Operation 2015; PNP Achievement Award in the Field of Operations (PCO Level) 2013; PNP Senior PCO of the Year for Operations 2012; PAOCTF Satellite Office of the Year 1999 and PRMG of the Year 1998.

Dela Rosa also served as one of the members of the Board of Inquiry tasked to probe the Mamasapano encounter in Maguindanao.

He was one of 38 police officers cited by President Aquino during the Araw ng Parangal sa Kapulisan for the arrest of Malaysian terrorist Mohd Noor Fikrie Binabd Hahar and wife Annabel Nieva Lee in Davao City.

Meanwhile, Hacienda Luisita farmers have joined other groups in urging Duterte to drop Gen. Ricardo Visaya from the shortlist of those being considered to be the next chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“Visaya deserves to be in jail with outgoing President Aquino,” said Danilo Ramos, Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) secretary-general.

Visaya was ground commander of the 69th Infantry Battalion involved in the violent dispersal of protesting farm workers in Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac on Nov. 16, 2004 that resulted in the death of seven peasants and scores wounded.

Aquino was then congressman of Tarlac and active administrator of the controversial sugar estate.

Visaya said the groups protesting his possible promotion as AFP chief are barking up the wrong tree after they linked him to the killing of  peasants in Hacienda Luisita.

“I was never in charge (in the Hacienda Luisita operations). I was only then a lieutenant colonel and battalion commander in Tarlac and Pampanga and my infantry unit was never used in the dispersal operations. They’re not trained for crowd dispersal management,” Visaya said.

He added that his men were deployed in an area far from the protesting peasants, saying that frontline troops sent to face the peasants’ wrath were composite elements from the Army, Air Force and Navy that came directly from Manila.

UMA pointed out that Visaya is also notorious as the “right hand man” and “protégé” of retired general Jovito Palparan in his reign of terror in Central Luzon, which claimed the lives of seven more supporters of Luisita farmers.

Visaya was also implicated in lumad killings and harassment of agricultural workers and unionists in Mindanao.

“After Luisita, Visaya’s infamous army unit was also involved in the massacre of lumads in Paquibato, Davao City in June last year. Visaya also headed the 27th IBPA in Polomolok, South Cotabato which perpetrated harassment against farmworkers of Dole Philippines during a union election in 2011, targeting leaders of the incumbent union affiliated with the Kilusang Mayo Uno,” Ramos said.

The farmers lamented that the ombudsman case filed by 52 survivors against perpetrators of the Hacienda Luisita massacre in 2005 was “killed” twice during the Aquino administration.

Immediately after Aquino came to power in 2010, charges were dropped against police and military personnel, including Visaya and retired Gen. Gregorio Catapang whom Aquino later appointed as AFP chief. – With Edith Regalado, Rhodina Villanueva, Jaime Laude

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