PMA alumni to Dela Rosa: Sound the call, we will be there

ILOILO, Philippines – Amid mounting criticism on the country's "war on drugs," alumni of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) are rallying behind the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director General Ronald dela Rosa.

On Facebook, alumni of the prestigious military academy are affixing their names to an open letter declaring their support for Dela Rosa.

"The people who matter, the people who feel the changes brought about by the relentless war against drugs, the people who are victims, whose loved ones are victims and are now being rendered justice and the people who once lost hope but are now looking at a drug-free and peaceful Philippines want you and the whole Philippine National Police to know that they appreciate your efforts, your sacrifices, your lack of sleep, your fatigue and the extraordinary risks you take," reads the statement.

Dela Rosa is among the top personalities in President Rodrigo Duterte's so-called "war on drugs," among the latter's key promises during the 2016 campaign. Since Dela Rosa officially assumed the post of top cop on July 1, the PNP has arrested over 11,000 drug suspects in operations around the country.

"Oplan TokHang," a literal knock and plead operation by cops, have led to the surrender of more than 600,000 drug users and pushers.

But the same police operations have let to the death of over 700 drug suspects. Police are investigating more than 1,000 "vigilante-style" deaths they suspect to have been drug-related as well.

It's the rising death toll that's alarmed critics, who have also hit the government and the police for what they say is a campaign that targets only the poor.

Some PMA alumni apparently did not share the same view.

"Do not worry about the senseless mumbling of the 'righteous' nor the indignation of the now irrelevant civil society nor the vain attempt of 'human rights' activists to distort the truth and to give primary consideration to the drug peddlers and lords rather than the unfortunate victims."

"Despair not at the words of grandstanding politicians, the demagogues of falsehoods, the whores of ultimate power. They have been unmasked and stripped. Now the people know their ugliness, their evil, their real intent."

"We, who share with you the Philippine Military Academy as the depository of what is noble, what is true, what is gallant and what is a worthy life, pledge our unequivocal support to you in the eradication of the drug menace, the peddlers, the cuddlers (sic), the protectors and the lords. We pledge that in whatever capacity we can, we will help. That, yes, in this gargantuan endeavor, you have us to count on. Sound the call, we will be there," reads one of the last paragraphs of the statement.

The manifesto of support was seen posted on the walls of several active and retired alumni of the PMA.

Former PNP chief Arturo Lumibao and retired police general turned legislator Leopoldo Bataoil were among the "signatories" to the message of support.

The same message was posted in the Facebook group "TheLongGrayLine," which Dela Rosa is part of.

Dela Rosa is a member of the PMA Class of 1986. A native of Santa Cruz town in Davao del Sur, Dela Rosa spent most of his years in the service in the Davao region, where he met then-vice mayor Duterte.

He was city police director of Davao City during the terms of Duterte and Duterte's daughter, Sara.

Dela Rosa has had to defend the PNP from allegations of abuse of authority and irregularities in police operations. The PMA alumnus himself has had his share of controversy over statements made in relation to the war on drugs.

Recently, Dela Rosa told surrendered drug users and pushers to "kill" or "burn the houses" of known drug lords because the latter put the former's lives in danger just for money.

The police general would later apologize for making the remark, explaining that he was simply overcome with emotion after seeing the emaciated faces of the drug users and pushers.

Read the message from PMA alumni in full here:

Dear Bato, our man:

The people who matter, the people who feel the changes brought about by the relentless war against drugs, the people who are victims, whose loved ones are victims and are now being rendered justice and the people who once lost hope but are now looking at a drug-free and peaceful Philippines want you and the whole Philippine National Police to know that they appreciate your efforts, your sacrifices, your lack of sleep, your fatigue and the extra ordinary risks you take. They can not thank you enough. They can not completely express the gratitude they feel.

Do not worry about the senseless mumbling of the "righteous" nor the indignation of the now irrelevant civil society nor the vain attempt of "human rights" activists to distort the truth and to give primary consideration to the drug peddlers and lords rather than the unfortunate victims.

Despair not at the words of grandstanding politicians, the demagogues of falsehoods, the whores of ultimate power. They have been unmasked and stripped. Now the people know their ugliness, their evil, their real intent.

Believe in your people. Those you have sworn to serve and die for if need be. Hear their collective voices, their prayers to the heavens for your safety and deliverance. They are your neighbors, the kids you grew up with, the teachers who honed you, your true friends through the years.
Remember your brave ancestors, the heroism they bequeathed, the ultimate sacrifice they made. Be inspired by their love of country, by their love of their people, by their being true Filipinos. Live by their code and be immortal!

We, who share with you the Philippine Military Academy as the depository of what is noble, what is true, what is gallant and what is a worthy life, pledge our unequivocal support to you in the eradication of the drug menace, the peddlers, the cuddlers, the protectors and the lords. We pledge that in whatever capacity we can, we will help. That, yes, in this gargantuan endeavor, you have us to count on. Sound the call, we will be there.

COURAGE. INTEGRITY. LOYALTY.
They are not just words written in stone. They live within as should be.
Our snappy salute!

– Rappler.com