Bato sorry for remark on burning of drug lords’ houses

Jaime Laude - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - It was an “unacceptable” statement and he was sorry.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa yesterday apologized for his statements calling on addicts to burn down the houses of suspected drug lords.

Facing hundreds of drug surrenderees in Bacolod City on Thursday, Dela Rosa had urged them to burn the houses of drug lords or kill them.

“Pour gasoline over their houses then light them up. Show them that you are angry over that they did to you. They’re enjoying (your) money, money that destroyed your brain. You know who the drug lords are. Would you like to kill them? Go ahead. Killing is allowed because (you) are the victim,” Dela Rosa told the assembled drug surrenderees in Bacolod.

A day later, Dela Rosa apologized for his incendiary remarks, which he said were made out of frustration with illegal drugs.

“I was just frustrated. I was in front of poor people. The pushers... I am sorry for that unacceptable statement. Many have reacted. Am sorry. I am just human and was angry,” he said.

Dela Rosa however did not offer his apologies to the policemen he sacked for their involvement in illegal drug operations.

While acknowledging that he may have hurt the families of policemen linked to the illegal drug trade, Dela Rosa said he would not apologize for what he did to them.

When asked about the possibility that he could have made a mistake, Dela Rosa clarified that what he did to the errant policemen was not an act of condemning or declaring them guilty.

“I will not apologize,” Dela Rosa said, adding that in shaming them he was issuing a reminder that he was father of the police organization.

“If they have been hurt, I was also deeply hurt,” he added.

Dela Rosa ordered the relief of 32 policemen, including two ranking police officials, from the regional police force.

He cursed at the policemen gone astray and challenged them to a fistfight in front of local media.

As the father of the PNP organization, Dela Rosa said he would not allow any member of the police force to be hurt, but he will not allow the image of the PNP to be tainted by scalawags.

“To those police officers who are doing right, I am willing to die for them,” he said.

Malacañang however defended Dela Rosa in his “arson” statements, saying it’s nothing but bluster and a passionate call to resist drugs. – With Gilbert Bayoran, Giovanni Nilles


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