INCOMING Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde said that although he has big shoes to fill, he would do his best to “match, or even exceed” what his predecessor, Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, claimed was his legacy – a trustworthy police force.
“The Philippine National Police (PNP) chief that we will follow is very amiable and well-loved by the public. I may not be able to fill in his shoes but I will do my best to match, or even exceed the public’s expectation of him and his responsibility,” Albayalde told reporters on Monday at the launch of the Quezon City Police District’s anti-cybercrime unit office.
When asked whether he would apply the same “strict” discipline he enforced at the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), Albayalde said that nothing would likely change when he assumes the top leadership of the 180,000-strong PNP force.
“I will most likely be the same on the ground. Nothing else will change apart from my post,” he said.
Meanwhile, Albayalde said the decision on who would replace him as the next NCRPO chief was not final as it still needed to be evaluated by the Regional Oversight Committee.
“[My successor] should be someone who will be able to toe the line, focus on the goal, and is able to discipline the 29,000 officials of the NCRPO,” he said.
De la Rosa, who is on his “farewell week,” will officially turn over the reins to Albayalde on April 19 and will then head the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
Earlier on Monday, a teary-eyed de la Rosa said that he “gave it all” and thanked his men for helping him during his term that lasted for one year and nine months.
“I can say that I am self-actualized. I achieved a lot of things and I cannot do it without my men” de la Rosa said in Filipino during a press conference.
In his last flag ceremony as PNP chief, de la Rosa became emotional about his “rollercoaster” journey.
“If I didn’t reach your level of expectation, I am sorry. That is all I can do as the chief PNP who hails from a province,” said de la Rosa, who hails from Davao del Sur.
De la Rosa claimed that for the first time, the PNP showed “traditional politicians” and “influential groups” that policemen could not be bullied easily.
De la Rosa said he did not regret any of his actions as he always “used his heart and brains.”
De la Rosa said if he had a legacy, it was making the police more approachable to the public.
“Ordinary citizens are not scared to come to me and ask for help so what more of local police,” he said.
De la Rosa also said he was sure that under his term, he brought back the trust and respect of the public with the police.
“I don’t expect all 100 percent of Filipinos will look up and trust me because some of them really don’t but generally, we brought back the respect of the public to us since we are now addressing drug issues,” he said.
De la Rosa became a household name for his active involvement in the administration’s war against illegal drugs with “Operation Tokhang and Operation Double Barrel.”
The PNP anti-drug campaign was either condemned for being “too brutal” or praised because it sowed fear in the hearts of drug criminals.
What’s next for De la Rosa?
De la Rosa said planned to “have quality time with my family” after he steps down.
“Family is important. They have been waiting for me for 36 years. I cannot deprive them the quality time they want,” he said.
De la Rosa, who was set to retire last January 21 when he reached the mandatory age of retirement at 56, had his service extended by the President until April 21. ROY NARRA, GLEE JALEA