MANILA—House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is backtracking on his call for Philippine National Police Chief, Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, to resign amid the controversial kidnap-slay of a Korean businessman.
In a radio interview on Monday, Alvarez said Dela Rosa should just devote his undivided attention to the task of eliminating the scalawags in the police force.
Alvarez made the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte said there is no need for Dela Rosa to resign and that “Bato” still enjoys his full trust and confidence.
“I have said my piece and I would have to agree with those who have suggested to give the Chief PNP a chance to fix the problems that the PNP is currently facing right now,” Alvarez said.
The House leader earlier urged Dela Rosa to leave his post following reports that the Korean victim, Ick-Joo Jee, was killed “under his nose” inside the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, saying this is necessary to spare President Duterte from further embarrassment.
Alvarez, who attended the 55th birthday celebration of Dela Rosa in Camp Crame on Sunday along with the President, clarified that his call for the embattled PNP chief’s resignation was nothing personal. He said he respects Duterte’s decision.
“I would just like to clarify that there is a separation between our friendship and work. I was invited by Gen. Bato in his birthday party, so I went there as his friend,” Alvarez said.
The Speaker said the lower chamber is not likely to probe the killing of the Korean since the Senate is already poised to conduct such a probe on the strength of a resolution filed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
However, Alvarez gave assurance that the House of Representatives is ready to help in case the PNP would need legislative action to institute needed reforms in the country’s police organization.
Meanwhile, Alvarez said the President has asked him to focus on efforts to amend the constitution.
“He (President Duterte) is seeing problems that we need to steer clear of. One example is the widespread following of ISIS, which is slowly gaining influence from radicals especially in the Mindanao area. So in our view, federalism is a sound solution,” he said.
Among Duterte’s key campaign promises is the amendment of the 1987 Constitution for a shift to a federal form of government.