MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Despite the murder of a South Korean businessman happening right inside the headquarters of the Philippine National Police, President Rodrigo Duterte still has "complete trust" in PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa.
According to a GMA News report, Duterte will keep Dela Rosa in his post.
"He stays there. Bato has my complete trust," the President was quoted as saying on Sunday, January 22, before he attended Dela Rosa's birthday party at Camp Crame.
The report also said Duterte ordered the PNP to identify who were behind the abduction and murder of Jee Ick Joo in October 2016. (READ: Murder inside Camp Crame: A tangled tale of crime)
Malacañang, in a statement on Sunday, had said there would be "no whitewash or cover-up" in the probe into Jee's murder and that "corrupt, abusive, errant policemen" would not be tolerated.
Photo courtesy of Special Assistant to the President Bong Go
Also present at Dela Rosa's birthday party on Sunday was House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who – just two days ago – called on the PNP chief to resign and "save" the President "from further embarrassment."
"The commission of a heinous crime right under his very nose is not only an insult but a clear indication that he has lost the respect of his people," Alvarez had said in a statement on Friday, January 20.
He also said then that Dela Rosa "seems more interested in having a showbiz career" – an apparent swipe at the PNP chief's special appearance at the Rakrakan Festival last January 14.
On Sunday, the House Speaker said he remains friends with the PNP chief despite his strong words.
"Wala naman iyon kinalaman sa pagiging magkaibigan namin (It has nothing to do with our friendship). I greeted him happy birthday," said Alvarez in a chance interview during the party.
"Siyempre, alam mo, kailangan din natin magsalita paminsan-minsan. Kahit na magkakaibigan tayo, kailangan nating tawagin iyong pansin kung kinakailangan," he also said. (Of course, you know, we need to speak up once in a while. Even though we're friends, we need to call their attention when needed.)
Asked what adjustments Dela Rosa should make, Alvarez said the PNP chief should continue what he is doing. The House Speaker also expressed confidence that Jee's case would soon be resolved.
The PNP's spokesman, responding to calls for Dela Rosa's resignation, earlier said the PNP chief would quit if Duterte orders him to. But Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos also said, "When one little finger is sore and wounded, do we cut the head to cure it?" – Rappler.com