By Jefferson Antiporda/Manila Times
Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa admitted yesterday that he was “more than 50%” convinced about running for senator in 2019 but that his final decision would depend on President Rodrigo Duterte.
“More than 50%,” De La Rosa said when asked about how convinced he was about joining the senatorial race in 2019.
Dela Rosa, current head of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), said he was open to everything the president would want him to do — either to stay in his current post or enter politics.
“I am at his disposal. If the president does not want me to run for senator and instead run as governor of Davao del Sur that is fine with me or if he wants me to stick to my job as BuCor chief that is fine with me,” Dela Rosa told reporters in an interview after attending a Senate committee hearing on the missing allowance of Special Action Force (SAF) troopers.
But the former PNP chief said that at present, his priority was to accomplish his mission, which would be to clean the BuCor of erring personnel suspected of conniving with convicted drug lords and other criminals.
Asked if he was aware of the existence of billboards along Edsa and in Davao City bearing his picture and that of Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, Dela Rosa said he has nothing to do with it and wanted to find out who were behind the displays.
“I don’t know if those behind the billboards were my supporters or of Bong Go. Promise, I don’t know who these people are,” the BuCor chief added.
He admitted, however, that such display of support from unknown individuals somehow helped in convincing him to enter politics.
But while even as he claims of having no clear plans yet, Dela Rosa admitted that he has some measures in mind that he would push for if ever he would become senator.
Dela Rosa said he wanted the death penalty reinstated for drug offenders, to have a national identification system, and make all mobile phone lines postpaid for easy monitoring of criminal syndicates.
He admitted, however, that his family was not in favour of him entering politics but if the president asked him to run he would comply.
“I have big debt of gratitude to him (Duterte). There’s no Bato without Digong,” he said, adding that the president has the last say when it comes to his political plans.
Based on a survey by the Social Weather Stations from April 7 to 11, Dela Rosa was tied for the 13th to 14th spot with Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, with 17% voting for him.
In the same SWS survey re-electionist Sen. Grace Poe is No 1 spot with 59% followed by Sen. Cynthia Villar at 41%.
Dela Rosa’s SWS ranking was lower than the senatorial survey of Pulse Asia in March where he was tied with other candidates, including former Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada from the eighth to the 15th spot. Estrada had expressed his intention to return to the Senate.
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