Time to replace Bato dela Rosa?

It’s important to have trust in the people you have appointed to do important tasks, if they have become incompetent or ineffectual in their responsibilities then a replacement is in order.

President Rodrigo Duterte should keep that in mind with regards to his chief implementer of the drive against illegal narcotics – Philippine Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.

The embattled police chief who has experienced a handful of career blunders in his short stint as head of the national police force recently faced a big PR slap to his face: the South Korean businessman abducted by corrupt cops was strangled to death inside a car parked near Bato’s own office building – inside the headquarters of the Philippine National Police.

This was revealed by Bato himself, who stated that this latest development in the case made him “want to melt in shame.” Just days earlier the PNP chief made a bold promise to locate Jee Ick Joo to the latter’s wife, Choi, but it turns out the victim actually made a presence inside Camp Crame.

Even before this latest gaffe, Bato also gave a daring order to his men to locate the ringleader of the group who abducted Jee – an active duty cop who apparently went AWOL. It was then reported that the policeman in question was still reporting to work as normal inside the police headquarters the entire time. 

Just this past Christmas, Bato disclosed to the media that high-ranking police officers would be receiving a hefty bonus from the government. It turned out that there was no budget allocated for such Christmas bonuses at all.

The PNP chief made the promise despite not having any go-signal from President Duterte, much to the frustration of the supposed beneficiaries who looked forward to receiving their bonuses. A lowered morale among your officers is not desirable when an intensified war against illegal narcotics is under way.

Speaking of the war against drugs, one of the key developments made during the Duterte administration was the arrest of alleged “narco coddler”, Albuera City Mayor Rolando Espinosa. He was purported to have information on the drug trade in the country, but was shot under suspicious circumstances while in police custody on the 5th of November.

The incident occurred a day after Bato dela Rosa left the country – to watch boxer Manny Pacquiao fight live in Las Vegas. The atrocity was seen as a result of Bato temporarily abandoning his post, despite the fact that a high-profile individual was in his custody.

It is certain Bato had to answer for his inadequacies then, as he is to answer to the South Korean government for his police force’s oversight in the kidnapping of Jee Ick Joo. The saga was blunder-laden, and is an embarrassment for our country in the eyes of foreign investors in the Philippines.

These errors are also not good on the part of dela Rosa, which could present him as a joke among his subordinates – especially given that many under him in the chain-of-command outrank him in seniority.

Bato’s saving grace to save face would be to yield serious gains in the drug war, instead he has turned to comical PR stunts. He recently did a song number at a music festival as well as during his trip to Las Vegas, despite the murder of Mayor Espinosa dominating local and global headlines.

Such naive antics is what you could expect from a showbiz personality saving face after a tabloid scandal – when you’re the commander of the nation’s police force that is plagued by internal corruption and facing a gargantuan drugs war, you tend to act more serious.

President Duterte never fails to emphasize how serious the drug problem in the country is, yet his police chief does the exact opposite.

Perhaps a replacement is in order?