By Martin Sadongdong
Ahead of the Lenten season next week, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said he is ready to be crucified after admitting they were at fault why the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismissed a drug charge against suspected high-profile personalities.
“Hindi na namin sila ibe-blame pero kung gusto nila ipasa sa amin ang blame, kami na ang may kasalanan. We can be crucified sa Semana Santa dahil sa pagka-dismiss ng mga kaso na ‘yan (We won’t blame the [DOJ] anymore but if they are passing the blame to us, then we accept it. We can be crucified during the Holy Week because of the dismissal of the cases),” Dela Rosa said.
The country’s top cop was referring to the case filed by the PNP-Crime Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) against self-confessed drug lord Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr., Peter Lim and about 20 others which was dismissed by the DOJ’s National Prosecution Service (NPS). Prosecutors said the case was lacking in evidence in convicting the accused persons.
Despite admitting they were at fault, Dela Rosa reiterated that the prosecutors could have given them a “heads-up” if they knew it was a “weak case.”
He, however, couldn’t hide his frustration as he said it was his men risking their lives to go after “big fishes” only to see that their labors would go into naught as the cases would only be dismissed.
“Klaruhin namin sa inyo, kami ang nagpapakamatay sa war on drugs na ito (Let us be clear, we are the ones risking our lives in this war on drugs),” he said.
Although his men’s morale was affected by the DOJ ruling, Dela Rosa said it would not stop them from giving their all in President Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.
“We will continue this war. Come what may. Tuloy-tuloy ito. Hindi kami aatras, ma-discourage man kami dahil ma-dismiss ng ma-dismiss ang mga malalaking drug cases sa piskalya. Tignan nating hanggang saan aabot ito (We will continue this war. Come what may. We will continue [the fight]. We will not back down even if we get discouraged over and over again with the dismissal of big drug cases by the prosecutors. Let’s see where it will lead us),” he said.
The chief PNP said Duterte told him he would exercise his power to review some of the DOJ resolutions, especially the ones dismissing big drug cases. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre III has also ordered for the creation of a review panel for the case.
Dela Rosa said they are also monitoring the reported dismissal of another drug charge involving the discovery of a drug laboratory in Virac, Catanduanes in November 2016.
Among the 16 who were accused in July 2017 were National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) senior agent Augusto Eric Isidoro and his wife Angelica.