AS I write this piece, all indications point to an impending victory in the May 13 senatorial race of retired General Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa and he will make history as the 2nd former Philippine National Police chief to become a Senator of the Republic next to the incorruptible Sen. Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson.
There is also the presence of Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos who is most likely to also win a Senate seat after her brother, former Sen. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos who is still contesting his controversial loss to Vice President Leni Robredo in the 2016 vice-presidential race.
The 2016 vice-presidential race which has been marred with wild accusations of cheating by the former Aquino administration to secure the win of Liberal Party’s Robredo isn’t over until it’s over as they always say as we still don’t know what will happen in the last three years of the Duterte presidency.
Back to ‘Bato’ and ‘Ping,’ I expect the public to see two Peemayers in the Senate soon, ‘Ping’ being a member of PMA ‘Matatag’ Class of 1971 and ‘Bato’ of PMA ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986. Both are known for having endured major controversies during their illustrious career.
‘Ping’ is the man behind the famed but now defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force who I believe remains the best anti-corruption and anti-criminality unit created by the PNP in its 28-year history. ‘Bato’ worked under ‘Ping’ as a PAOCTF officer in Mindanao in 1999 up to January 2001.
‘Ping’ endeared himself to majority of Filipinos due to his no-nonsense campaign against criminality, corruption and rogues in uniform. Under him, the PNP enjoyed its highest public approval rating and the PNP chief adored by the public who voted him to Senate in 2001.
‘Bato’ is also just like ‘Ping,’ a police general who endured all tirades including charges of ‘rubouts or extra-judicial killings’ thrown at him when he was still the Chief,PNP, the toilet sink included as they say as he led a blood police crackdown against illegal drug trafficking and abuse, crime, terrorism and corruption.
With his major reform platform, ‘Bato’ is expected to further prime up the Duterte government’s war on drugs in the Senate thru legislative measures that will help the police, the Armed Forces and other law enforcement agencies in fighting crime and corruption with the end in view of making the country as peaceful as possible and giving all Filipinos the chance to sleep or walk in the streets with a peace of mind knowing that criminals are on the run and police are literally watching them.
I personally know these two officers and gentlemen when they were still in the active service. Both are charismatic officers although ‘Ping’ is the shy-type, one who will prefer to stay in his office or be with his men as he leads their battle against corruption, rogues in uniform and criminality.
Unlike ‘Ping,’ ‘Bato’ had his regular Monday press conference at Camp Crame where he fielded questions from the press, the intelligent and even the non-intelligent queries. Unlike ‘Ping,’ Bato’ always mingled with the press to give one-liners that became the talk of the town the following day.
However, both achieved a ‘rock star’ status during their Chief,PNP days. No doubt that the adoring crowd will jostle with each other just to have their pictures taken with the two. The only advantage that ‘Bato’ had over ‘Ping’ is that during Lacson’s time, the thing called ‘selfies’ is yet to be invented.
Sen. Lacson made history when he led a lonely battle against ‘pork barrel’ in the Senate, he becoming the only senator who is not receiving any appropriation of government spending for localized projects worth hundreds of millions every year since he deemed it as a form of corruption.
On the other hand, ‘Bato’ will make history in the Senate as a former PNP chief who started the PNP’s massive war on drugs to let Filipinos know that the drug problem is real and it has transformed into a clear and present danger to the national security. Just like ‘Ping,’ ‘Bato’ will also be known as a PNP chief whose programs led to a real massive reduction in the total crime volume in the country. Thus, we will have two Senators who are both known for their 101 percent stand against crime and corruption.
It’s good to hear too that ‘Ping’ will give his vote to ‘Bato. The senator said he really would not vote for dela Rosa but admitted he had a change of mind when he recovered in the latest CNN senatorial forum when he gamely and single-handedly took on the 6 Otso Diretso candidates. That’s plus 1 for ‘Bato.’
As I have previously written too, both ‘Bato’ and former special assistant to the president Bong Go will get the support of the majority of the police and the military in the coming May 13 elections for a very simple reason: both are expected to help President Duterte address the needs and boost the morale , welfare and the fighting spirit of the PNP and the AFP which are fighting Enemies from the outside and within.
Known for having the full trust and confidence of the President since his days as Davao City mayor, I expect ‘Bato’ and Bong Go to be voted by soldiers and policemen and their families and friends to Senate if they want fresh faces in the Senate who will be all-out in supporting the needs of the armed services without asking anything in return.
As I have said before and with all candor, I believe that ‘Bato’ should be voted by all Filipinos to Senate since we need another senator who will help fight the national security threat called illegal drugs thru legislation in the Upper House. ‘Bato’ after all was merely doing his job but he is also man enough to apologize to the Church, the families of suspects killed in shootouts with the police and the entire public.
We should also understand that the former PNP chief put his life and that of his family when he accepted the tough job of battling drug syndicates in the country in order to save the Filipino family. Add to that the possibility that law suits will be filed against him in the future when an ‘unfriendly’ government takes over.