Zubiri addresses Dela Rosa as ‘Senator Bato’

SENATOR. Juan Miguel Zubiri says senators have joked that a seat has been saved for the top cop. Rappler file photo

SENATOR. Juan Miguel Zubiri says senators have joked that a seat has been saved for the top cop.

Rappler file photo

Despite denials of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa he's eyeing a seat in the Senate, at least one senator appears to take pleasure at the possibility.

Speaking at the 25th Defense and Sporting Arms Show on Friday, November 17, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri called the top cop “Senator Bato”.

In his address during the program, Zubiri said he wanted to extend the validity of the license to own and possess firearms from two to 5 years, which would require legislation.

On the spot, he implored the help of the top cop, addressing him as “Senator Bato” in passing, which caused the PNP chief to squirm. It however elicited applause from the audience.  

"Unfortunately, I wasn't around when they amended the law, the Firearms Law, it's a very good law but if I was there I would've put one or two inputs. One of them is maybe lengthening the time, Senator Bato, baka tayo na 'yan (Senator Bato, that may be our task), maybe lengthening the time of our LTOPF license." he said.

Kahapon niloloko po namin siya na may nakahanda nang upuan sa Senado para sa kaniya,” Zubiri said as he recognized Dela Rosa in his speech. (We were joking with him yesterday that a seat has been prepared for him at the Senate.)

The senator did not mention who the other legislators, who poked fun at Dela Rosa becoming one of them, were.

Zubiri is the chairperson of the Senate Cooperatives, and Senate Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship committees. Like Dela Rosa, Zubiri hails from Mindanao, particularly from Bukidnon.

In an interview after the program, Dela Rosa said he did not want to comment on Zubiri’s remarks, as according to him, he might get “bashed” for appearing like he was setting his sights on the position.

This follows Dela Rosa "pretending" to be a senator during one of his press conferences. In his role-playing, he asked members of the media to course questions intended for suspects presented in their headquarters through him as a “presiding officer”.

Prior to that, Dela Rosa hinted during an early 2017 interview that he was eyeing a seat in the upper chamber, but he later retracted the statement, saying it was only a joke.

Pressed during one of his briefings in October on whether he was eyeing a career in politics beyond the uniformed service, he said he leaves his future up to President Rodrigo Duterte. – Rappler.com

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.