PRRD just keeping word to back cops in anti-drug drive: Lorenzana

By Priam Nepomuceno

January 24, 2020, 1:57 pm

<p>Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. (File photo)

MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte is just keeping his promise to back police officials at the forefront of his administration's anti-drug campaign, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Friday.

Lorenzana made the remark following the President's warning to the United States that he would scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement if Washington DC does not rectify the cancellation of retired Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa's US visa within a month.

"He ordered Bato, then the newly installed Chief PNP, to launch the drug war and enjoined the entire PNP to do their duties and pledged to back them up. That he would take responsibility for their official actions. That he would go to prison for them. He is just being true to his promise," Lorenzana said in a message to reporters.

Earlier, dela Rosa confirmed that the US Embassy canceled his visa but did not disclose the reason for the cancellation.

Dela Rosa, who served as PNP chief from 2016 to 2018, said it could be because of his role in the Duterte administration's anti-drug campaign.

"I can understand why PRRD is peeved by the cancellation of Senator Bato’s visa because of alleged extrajudicial killings in connection with the drug war. Most especially, that Bato was specifically targeted. It is a direct affront to PRRD being the architect of the drug war that he started upon his assumption of office," Lorenzana said.

He also said the issue is in the hands of the US government.

"Let’s see how they (US government) react to PRRD’s statement," Lorenzana said.

Meanwhile, PNP Chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa, declined to comment on the issue.

"I cannot give any comment because I really don't know the reason for cancellation and I think the good senator will also clarify kung ano yung dahilan (the reason) for (the) revocation. That's why I cannot comment," he added. (With reports from Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)