By: Elena Grace Flores
In connection to the more than 150 politicians, police and military officers and judges shortlisted by the intelligence group, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said they had started to submit themselves to PNP for investigation – and clarified that more than 50 of them just want to clear their names and not technically surrendering since they do not have warrant of arrest.
He recognized the errors that one judge was already 8 years dead. One classified as a “congressman” who never became a house representative. Among the four military personnel itself, retired Brig. Gen. Leoncio Daniega had already been dead since 2010, while the rest had already been long discharged from the service due to some cases previously.
Dela Rosa however commented: “Why are we so concerned about the mistakes? We should be concerned on the good effects of this massive campaign. If we allow ourselves to be controlled by the fear of making mistakes, by a small percentage, this campaign will go nowhere,” he said. “To tell you frankly, we won’t be able to pin them down, because drug lords are very hard to pin down unless you have a comprehensive case buildup. But even if we don’t pin them down, and they keep on denying, at least the people know who they are, and they have promised to change,” Dela Rosa said.
Those who went to Camp Crame last Monday on the other hand said that they weren’t surrendering but simply wanteing to clear their names – which of the 58, 31 were police officers and 27 were government officials.
Mayor Martin de Guzman III of Bauang, La Union province, who was emotional told Dela Rosa: “The years we sent taking care of our name swiftly went away. The future of our children vanished. It is so sad. Who’s going to believe us now?”
These statements are aalso what the co-accused felt like: Datu Saudi, Maguindanao, Mayor Samsudin Diaukom; Salibo, Maguindanao Mayor Noridin Salasal; and even Dela Rosa’s “shooting buddy” Ohto Montawal, vice mayor of Montawal, Maguindanao province.
“Sir, you know me. We were best friends,” Montawal told Dela Rosa, who replied being friends didn’t matter in light of Duterte’s revelations, which “may be true or not true.”
“It’s the obligation of the President to let people know the campaign against narcotics is this sincere,” Dela Rosa explained. He indirectly admitted that the list is just to intimidate suspects using fear and no evidence can really confirm that they are guilty as accused.
Franz Sabalones showed up for his brother and explained why his brother, Fralz, vice mayor of San Fernando, Cebu, may have been been implicated. Sabalones said: “I just want him to change.”
Dela Rosa, cheerfully quipped as he put his arm around him saying: “Because if he doesn’t, he’ll really get killed.”
Dela Rosa earlier warned his men who had been implicated with the illegal drugs issue in a separate venue, that he would kill them if they won’t change.