Dela Rosa on PNP's drug war return: 'We have learned a lot of lessons'

MANILA, Philippines – On their return to President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has learned a lot of lessons, and their chief vows to apply them on their third try.

This was the announcement of PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa on Monday, November 27 during his speech at their flag raising ceremony.

"Pangatlong phase na ito ng ating magiging war on drugs, magiging pangatlong phase na, we’ll be proceeding at full speed, wala tayong pakialam kung sinong matatamaan sinong masasagasaan... but full speed with extreme caution. We have learned a lot of lessons over this,” Dela Rosa said.

(This is the third phase of our war on drugs. We’ll be proceeding at full speed, we won’t care who we run against, who we hit... but full speed with extreme caution. We have learned a lot of lessons over this.)

Dela Rosa likened the campaign to driving a car, and with him as a driver, he said he hopes that no passengers will be harmed on their impending journey.

Dapat defensive driving ‘yung gagawin ko, dapat defensive driving, para to avoid disgrasya. Iwasan natin ang mga hump, iwasan natin ang mga lubak, iwasan natin ang mga barricade, para ang ating dinadrive-an na sasakyan ay walang gasgas, at mga pasahero safe papunta sa ating destination,” he said.

(I will do defensive driving, to avoid accidents. Let’s avoid humps, obstacles, and barricades, so that the car we are using does not get damaged, and so that our passengers are safe.)

Dela Rosa did not spell out what he meant by saving his passengers, but he himself has repeated that the killings that came with the PNP-led drug war were unintended deaths.

In an earlier press conference, he admitted that their only mistake in the drug war was to charge without cleansing their ranks first, a sentiment long voiced out by critics.

Dela Rosa's pronouncement at a time when the very guidelines of their suspended drug war – Oplan Double Barrel – is under question, and at no less than the Supreme Court.

Petitioners are arguing that the memorandum which put their campaign in place had been open to abuse by police, leading to the thousands of deaths. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.