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Bato willing to face charges after retirement from PNP

Outgoing Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa said he is ready to face any charges that will be filed against him related to President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war.

The 21st PNP chief said he is willing "sink or swim with my President," admitting that he owed Duterte for giving him the "biggest break" in his police career.

Dela Rosa and Duterte come a long way back as the outgoing PNP chief had served as chief of the Davao City Police.

Before Duterte appointed him to the top PNP post, Dela Rosa was the executive officer of the Directorate for Human Resource and Doctrine Development.

Before this, he also held positions in the command group of the PNP's Intelligence Group.

"Handa ako, as I have said, I may sink or swim with my President, hindi ko siya iiwan," Dela Rosa said in an ambush interview after his testimonial parade at the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City on Monday.

Living up to his monicker, Dela Rosa led the highly-criticized Duterte administration's crackdown against illegal drugs which has left thousands of suspected drug personalities dead.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency's consolidated data on Duterte's war on drugs showed that a total of 3,968 drug personalities have died in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to Dec. 27, 2017 and 119,023 more have been arrested.

At his last weekly press briefing in Camp Crame, Dela Rosa said the anti-drug campaign was a topic that was "closest" to his heart "because of its relevance to our lives and national well-being."

As of April 13, a total of 19,086 drug offenders were arrested in 12,032 separate anti-illegal drugs operation since the PNP relaunched its anti-illegal drug campaign in early December 2017.

"But these 12,032 anti-illegal drugs operations, was not at all a walk in the park, because there were isolated life-threatening confrontations with armed drug suspects that necessitated the use of reasonable force by our operatives, thus resulting in 207 deaths from these police operations," Dela Rosa said.

This was an increase of 6,901 individuals who were arrested in the intensified anti-illegal operations while the number of deaths nearly doubled as 89 more have died since March 5. The number of operations conducted increased by 4,288.

Meanwhile, a total of 8,081 persons have yielded in 9,566 separate Tokhang activities. This was an increase of 3,533 surrenders since 4,548 surrenderers were recorded last March 12.

Dela Rosa, who belongs to PMA Sinagtala Class of 1986, will leave his post on April 19. He was supposed to retire on January 21 when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 56 but the President had extended his term for 3 months until April 21.

He will briefly take a vacation to his hometown in Davao after his stint at the PNP. He is expected to take over the helm of the Bureau of Corrections.

"Uwi akong Davao, mag-relax lang, tulog," Dela Rosa said.

His mistah, National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Oscar Albayalde, has been chosen by Duterte to succeed him. —ALG, GMA News