The Philippines’ top cop said yesterday he was confident he was doing the right thing in his country’s campaign against illegal drugs despite widespread criticism of the high death toll, after receiving an award from Indonesia.
Director General Ronald Dela Rosa received the National Police Meritorious Service Star from his Indonesian counterpart on Wednesday.
It was the first time the award was given to a foreigner.
“I am deeply honoured. I’m happy and flattered,” Dela Rosa told reporters in the northern city of Baguio yesterday. “It gives me a sense of feeling that I am doing the right thing.”
“I became confident that all my decisions in line with our war on drugs is correct because another country recognised our work,” he added.”You cannot just fool a country.”
Dela Rosa, who is popularly known as “Bato” or “The Rock” in the Philippines, said Indonesia understands the country’s campaign against illegal drugs because they have the same problem. Indonesia’s police, General Mohamed Tito Karnavian, praised Dela Rosa for being an inspiration to his force and people.
“To the very famous and popular General Bato, thank you for your rock star-like inspiration to the Indonesian national police and the Indonesian people on how to fight the war on drugs,” he said. The award was given about one week after the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it would open a preliminary examination into allegations of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines’ war on drugs.
Dela Rosa said he would co-operate with the ICC’s investigation because he and the entire police force had nothing to hide.
“If they will proceed with their investigation, they will see the truth, that what the critics are saying that the president ordered the killings are not true,” he said.”They will be proven wrong.”
“To the (ICC) investigator, look into my eyes and tell me if I’m lying,” he added. “I will take a lie detector test anytime. The allegations that the president ordered those killings, you will see once you investigate, you will be proven wrong.”
According to official data released by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, 4,021 suspects were killed in police anti-drug operations between July 1, 2016 and February 8, 2018.
But New York-based Human Rights Watch has noted that estimates by local human rights and church groups place the death toll at up to 13,000 people, including those suspected to have been murdered by hired or vigilante killers.
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