Rappler file photo
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte plans to appoint Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa as Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) head when the top cop retires next month.
Duterte told this to Rappler on Tuesday, December 12, on the sidelines of the Malacañang Press Corps Christmas party held in the Palace.
The President said he wants Dela Rosa to take over the post since it is, in his view, the trickiest position in government. Duterte said many BuCor heads have come and gone without resolving drug trafficking in the national penitentiary.
Dela Rosa is retiring from the PNP in January. He has said publicly that Duterte has offered him a government post, which he will assume when he retires.
Duterte said Dela Rosa might have failed to "meet the public's expectations" when it came to leading the PNP but that it would be "a waste" of the police official's youth and energy if he was not given a position.
Asked how sure he is that Dela Rosa would succeed in his new post, Duterte said he wants Dela Rosa to take "direct orders" from him.
He said it should be relatively easy for Dela Rosa to manage BuCor since its operations are confined to buildings or structures, compared to the PNP.
Duterte, who began his presidency with highly-publicized claims that national prisons were hotbeds for drug trafficking, said he would "micromanage" BuCor under Dela Rosa.
The President previously named the PNP's second-in-command, Deputy Director General Ramon Apolinario, as Dela Rosa's replacement when he retires in January.
The top BuCor post has definitely not been spared from controversy. Benjamin de los Santos, the first BuCor chief to be appointed by the Duterte administration, resigned in July after Duterte said there was a resurgence in illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison.
Former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Dionisio Santiago was Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II's top pick to replace De Los Santos until Santiago was appointed Dangerous Drugs Board chairman.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.