File photo shows Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa during the campaign period.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
‘Cut my head if drug war killings are proven to be state-sponsored,’ Bato challenges UN
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - July 12, 2019 - 1:50pm

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who initially led the government’s ferocious anti-drug campaign, said he is willing to have his head cut off if the killings linked to the war on drugs are proven to be state-sponsored.

The former chief of the Philippine National Police said this a day after the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution requiring a “comprehensive” international review of the human rights situation in the country.

Dela Rosa challenged UN human rights officer to come to the Philippines and cut his head if the thousands of drug war killings are state-sponsored or initiated.

“You come here and cut my head if this is state-sponsored. End of conversation,” Dela Rosa said.

He said the international community was misled by those who want to bring the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte down as he criticized the supposedly bloated figures of human rights watchdogs on drug war death toll.

“Wala akong kinatatakutan. They can investigate kung gusto nila, provided they investigate with an open mind. 'Wag nilang saraduhan utak nila at sana wag nila i-lump up lahat ng kaso. They investigate one by one,” Dela Rosa said.

(I have nothing to fear. They can investigate if they want provided they investigate with an open mind. They should not lump up all cases. They investigate one by one.)

The drug war, President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature initiative launched in 2016, has killed at least 27,000 people, according to human rights watchdogs. But figures from the government only put the number of ‘drug personalities’ killed in law enforcement operations at 6,000 as of last month.

The government has repeatedly insisted that all “drug personalities” killed had forced law enforcement to shoot them by violently resisting arrest.

‘Face of drug war

The neophyte lawmaker asked why he was elected as one of the nation’s senators if he is the “face” of the controversial drug war.

“Kung talagang masama ang war on drugs ng Pilipinas bakit ninyo ako pinanalong senator? Ginawa niyo akong number five. If you claim I’m the face of war on drugs, bakit ninyo ako pinanalo?” Dela Rosa said.

(If the war on drugs is really bad, why did you let me win in the elections? You made me number five [in the ranking]. If you, claim I’m the face of war on drugs, why did I win?)

Dela Rosa—the police chief in the first 21 months of Duterte’s presidency—placed fifth in the midterm elections senatorial race. He garnered a total of 19,004,225 votes.

He is backed by Duterte, who still enjoys the support of the majority of Filipinos despite his controversial statements and policies.

“The Filipino people know best compared to Europeans. Mas alam ng Filipino ang nangyayari sa bansa kaysa sa mga European na gustong mag-imbestiga sa internal domestic affairs,” Dela Rosa said.

(The Filipino people know best compared to Europeans. Filipinos know what’s happening in the country better than the Europeans who want to investigate the internal domestic affairs.)

UNHRC on Thursday narrowly adopted the resolution proposed by Iceland with 18 affirmative votes, 14 negative votes and 15 abstentions.

The resolution was backed mostly by European nations: Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

Last week, Dela Rosa sparked outrage when he dismissed the killing of a three-year-old girl in a police anti-narcotics with an expletive. He later apologized for his remarks.

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