Bato booed at senatorial debate for defending Duterte’s anti-corruption record

Bato booed at senatorial debate for defending Duterte�s anti-corruption record
Former Philippine National Police chief and current Bureau of Corrections is booed overh his comments defending President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-corruption record..
Philstar.com / Kat Leandicho

MANILA, Philippines — Former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, who is running for senator in the 2019 midterm elections, was booed at the CNN Philippines forum Sunday night for defending President Rodrigo Duterte’s progress on fighting corruption in government.

“The president is kawawang kawawa talaga (the president is a pity),” Dela Rosa said when asked what he planned to do about corruption. The audience at the University of the Philippines Diliman booed and jeered the vocal Duterte supporter and former top cop.

“Listen to me first. Has there been a president that had taken out the whole board of the BOC (Bureau of Customs), removed them, and then placed soldiers there? Has anyone done that in the history of the Philippines?” Dela Rosa asked.

In October, Duterte transferred Customs chief Isidro Lapeña to head the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and placed the entire agency under “military control” after the bureau became embroiled in controversy over the alleged smuggling of P11 billion worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu).

READ: Duterte places customs under military control

Death penalty for corrupt politicians

“If I were to win, I would file a bill reviving the death penalty for corrupt politicians,” Dela Rosa said during the forum.

After retiring as PNP chief, Dela Rosa was appointed head of the Bureau of Corrections.

He said when he filed his certificate of candidacy in October that he would make restoring the death penalty for heinous crimes like drug trafficking and rape top priority.

READ: Ex-PNP chief Bato joins senatorial race

In 2006, former president and current House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed Republic Act 9346 which prohibits the imposition of the death penalty in the Philippines.

Duterte has repeated on several occasions since beginning his term in 2016 that reintroducing the death penalty is a priority for his administration.

A bill reviving capital punishment for drug-related offenses passed the third and final reading in the House of Representatives in 2017.

The Senate has yet to take up the death penalty, but current Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said in August that the proposal reinstating capital punishment would have better chances of passing in the upper chamber only if it would be aimed at drug lords.  

Among the senators who have either filed bills to revive the death penalty or have expressed support for them were Sens. Manny Pacquiao, JV Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian and Cynthia Villar.

Dela Rosa said in October after filing his candidacy that he is aiming to become a member of the upper house because Duterte instructed him to do so. — Ryan Macasero

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