Former Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa, poised to land a Senate seat, on Friday challenged his critics to go after him for alleged extrajudicial killings in the government’s bloody war on drugs.
“Bring it on, bring it on. Whatever they want, I will not run away,” Dela Rosa said in an interview over the ANC news channel.
Dela Rosa, who has also served as director of the Bureau of Corrections before he quit to run for a senator, was the top police officer when President Rodrigo Duterte mounted his drive against drug pushers and addicts.
“Whatever, whatever, whenever,” said Dela Rosa when confronted about the possibility of being investigated, even by the International Criminal Court, over what human rights activists described as summary executions.
Dela Rosa was among the respondents in crimes against humanity complaint filed by a Filipino lawyer with the ICC.
The said court announced in February 2018 that it had started a preliminary examination into the Philippine war on drugs. But Dela Rosa said the police were just doing their job.
After assailing the ICC for its bias, Duterte canceled the Philippines’ membership in the ICC.
Dela Rosa, who ranks fifth in the latest poll results, said the police need to protect themselves when dealing with drug suspects.
He said that the more than 5,000 suspected drug dealers whom police have killed in anti-narcotics operations had all put up a fight.
Responding to a statement by Carlos Conde, Philippines researcher for Human Rights Watch, Dela Rosa told GMA News Online: “Let us pray that the bitterness in their hearts be flushed out. Nakailang Senate investigation na hindi pa sila nagsawa? (How many Senate investigations have been held and they’re still not satisfied?)”
In a blog post on Friday, Conde said Dela Rosa “may still have a date with justice.”
“Now that Dela Rosa is a policymaker, there is renewed urgency in bringing all those responsible for ‘drug war’ crimes to justice,” he said.