Dela Rosa on Espenido being in drug watchlist: “I am vouching for his integrity.”

Marje Pelayo   •   February 20, 2020   •   694

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ronald dela Rosa wants to know the person who included the name of P/Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido in the government’s drug watchlist or list of cops linked to illegal drug trade.

Senator dela Rosa said it surprised him to hear that Espenido’s name was on the list when it wasn’t the case when he was still the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Hindi ko nakita noong panahon ko, otherwise, hindi ko iyan i-a-appoint (I didn’t see (his name) during my time, otherwise, I wouldn’t have appointed him),” the Senator said.

Dela Rosa transferred Espenido from Albuera, Leyte to Ozamiz City.

Espenido spearheaded the raids that resulted in the killing of then Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and the downfall of the Parojinog drug chain.

Given Espenido’s service history, dela Rosa expressed doubt as to how his name ended up in the President’s drug watchlist.

“Saan galing yan? Lumabas lang out of thin air? (Where did it come from? Did it appear out of thin air?),” the former PNP Chief said.

He urged that the PNP leadership should investigate how it happened, adding that there might be a ‘syndicate’ inside the PNP who wanted to dishonor their comrades.

“Dapat ungkatin ng PNP kung sino ang gumawa ng report na iyan, most likely sindikato na pulis ang gumawa noon (The PNP should investigate who made that report. It’s most likely a syndicate of cops who did that),” dela Rosa noted.

“Dahil kung andyan pa iyang mga pulis na iyan most likely meron na naman iyang gagawing kalokohan sa ibang kasamahan nila na makakalaban nila (Because if those cops are still in position, most likely they will repeat their follies against other cops who oppose them),” the Senator added.

Senator dela Rosa clarified that Espenido still has his full trust and similar to President Duterte, he doesn’t believe Espenido is involved in illegal drugs trade.

“He is my man I am vouching for his integrity,” dela Rosa said of Espenido.

“Kilala ko siya na matino siya (I have known him as a straight cop),” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Senators give mixed reactions on Sinas’ appointment as new PNP chief

Robie de Guzman   •   November 9, 2020

Police Major General Debold Sinas

MANILA, Philippines – Senators on Monday gave varied reactions to the appointment of Police Major General Debold Sinas as the new chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Earlier in the day, Malacañang announced that Sinas has been designated by President Rodrigo Duterte to lead the country’s police force.

For Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief, Sinas is a “good choice” for the top PNP post.

“Barring any controversy that Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas got entangled with in the past, he is a good choice for the top Philippine National Police post,” Lacson said in a post.

“I’ve known him as a performer, always mission-oriented and undoubtedly will lead the police institution the way it should be led,” he added.

Sinas faced criticisms earlier this year for holding a “mañanita” or a pre-dawn birthday serenade in May that allegedly violated quarantine restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The incoming PNP chief has since apologized for the incident.

“That said, the birthday mañanita event was a hard lesson that I hope he has learned from, and which he will surely remember whenever he will be confronted in making decisions affecting the PNP as well as his personal reputation,” Lacson said.

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, also a former PNP chief, congratulated Sinas for his appointment, he is a “good choice,” and has a “proven track record.”

Meanwhile, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian advised Sinas to take this opportunity to prove that he is the best man for the job.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III also urged Sinas to reorient cops, especially those belonging to the anti-carnapping group, of the police protocols in dealing with suspects.

On the other hand, Senator Francis Pangilinan said Duterte’s choice of next PNP chief was not surprising at all.

“With all due respect, hindi na sorpresa na ang mga kakampi o kaalyado na nasasangkot sa mga kaso o katiwalian ay hindi pinaparusahan, kinokonsinti o di kaya ay promoted pa,” he said in a statement, referring to the alleged treatment by the president to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and former Customs Commissioners Nicanor Faeldon and Isidro Lapeña who were linked to various issues.

Senator Risa Hontiveros also hit Duterte’s decision on Sinas’ appointment, saying the president “could have made a more meritorious choice for Philippine National Police Chief.”

“While Debold Sinas was my late husband’s underclassman and an old friend, unfortunately, the poor manner in which the PNP has acted on the waves of violence as well as minimized the risks of the coronavirus pandemic under his previous commands betrays his level of competence for this new role,” she said.

Sinas will be replacing PNP chief General Camilo Cascolan who is set to leave the police service on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

Malacañang earlier assured that Sinas is not yet off the hook over the mañanita mess despite his installment as PNP’s top cop.

Senate OKs bill lowering height requirement for cops, other uniformed personnel

Robie de Guzman   •   September 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A Senate bill seeking to lower the minimum height requirement for aspiring law enforcers has been approved on third and final reading.

Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1563 or the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Height Equality Act was approved with 23 affirmative votes, zero negative votes, and zero abstention.

The proposed PNP, BFP, BJMP, and BuCor Height Equality law seeks to amend the minimum height requirement for male applicants to five feet and two inches from the current 5’3; and five feet tall from the current 5’2 requirement for females.

The measure also proposes to waive the height requirements for applicants belonging to the cultural communities or the indigenous people.

Senator Ronald dela Rosa, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs and sponsor of the measure, said the approval of the bill would allow the PNP, BFP, BJMP and BuCor to accept applicants who have not been gifted with towering height.

“I still believe that sacrifice, dedication and service to the country cannot be measured by height nor by any physical characteristics given by the unseen hand of our Supreme Being,” Dela Rosa said in his explanatory note.

The Senator explained that given the required mandate of uniformed personnel, and for practicality in accomplishing tasks, there is still the need to retain a minimum height requirement for them to be able perform their duties and responsibilities exceptionally.

During his manifestation after the approval, Dela Rosa cited the late President Ramon Magsaysay’s credo: “He who has less in life should have more in law.”

Dela Rosa thanked his colleagues for supporting the measure.

The bill is in substitution of SBN 312 introduced by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Panfilo Lacson; SBN 405 filed by Sen. Francis Tolentino; and SBN 871 authored by Dela Rosa.

A counterpart bill in the House of Representatives remains pending.

Bato, Pacquiao support reimposition of death penalty for heinous crimes

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 30, 2020

Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Manny Pacquiao reiterated their support for the reimposition of death penalty for heinous crimes.

During Senate’s regular session on Wednesday (July 29), Pacquiao said reinstating death penalty in the country will not be illegal in the eyes of God.

The Senator previously filed a bill that would impose death penalty on heinous crimes which include manufacturing and trafficking dangerous drugs.

Hindi po labag sa mata ng gobyerno, sa mata ng Panginoon. Dahil biblically po, allowed po ang gobyerno (It is not illegal in the eyes of the government, in the eyes of the Lord. Because, biblically, the government is allowed to do so) the authority, which is established by God to impose heinous crimes especially death penalty,” Pacquiao said.

Meanwhile, during his privilege speech, Dela Rosa reiterated that reimposing death penalty would be the solution in stopping drug lords and the continuing drug activities inside detention facilities.

The Senator also noted that crime rate has dropped when death penalty was imposed in 1993. He also said that the drug problem is also considered as a global pandemic which should also be prioritized.

“It is also considered a global pandemic itong drug problem. So, hindi naman siguro ibig sabihin na porke tayo may kinakaharap na global pandemic na COVID-19, hihinto na lang tayo sa paggawa ng ibang batas para sa ibang mga issues na kinakaharap ng ating lipunan (This drug problem is also considered as a global pandemic. Just because we are facing the COVID-19 pandemic does not mean we would stop making laws for other issues faced by society),” he said.

Dela Rosa was appointed as a member of a Senate panel under the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights after Senator Sherwin Gatchalian relinquished his seat.

The said Senate panel will vote on bills including the reimposition of death penalty in the country. However, panel chairman Senator Richard Gordon said the bill should be discussed at the proper time.

“I will not sponsor it because I do not believe in it. We will take it up at the proper time,” he said. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

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