Palace defends Pres. Duterte decision not to accept Dela Rosa’s resignation

MANILA — Malacanang on Monday denied speculations that President Rodrigo Duterte is tolerating police scalawags when he rejected the verbal resignation of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa over the killing of a Korean executive inside Camp Crame.

“I think they misunderstand the situation,” Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in an interview with Palace reporters after Miss Universe 2016 contestants paid courtesy call to President Duterte at Rizal Hall.

During his 55th birthday celebration last Sunday night, Dela Rosa reportedly told President Duterte that he will quit his post after House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez called for his resignation over the abduction and slay of Hanjin executive Jee Ick Joo.

Abella explained that the President did not ask Dela Rosa to resign “simply because he understands that whatever has happened exactly speaks about the concerns that he had regarding crime and corruption in government institutions.”

Abella also explained that the PNP chief cannot be faulted for the killing of Korean businessman inside the PNP headquarters at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

“The individuals involved were not part of the PNP Chief’s team and these matters are exactly what the President has said that there is corruption in the institutions,” Abella explained.

He said the people should continue to support the efforts of President Duterte and PNP chief to address crime and corruption.

Last Sunday, Abella assured that there will be no whitewash in the investigation of Jee’s killing reportedly involving rogue cops.

“We will not tolerate corrupt, abusive, errant policemen who betray the organization and the men and women in uniform who continue their faithful, dedicated and loyal service to the country,” Abella said in a statement.

Abella said the Palace is “outraged by the abduction and slay” of Jee who was reportedly strangled to death with his head covered with a packaging tape.

According to news reports, Jee and house helper Marisa D. Morquicho were abducted by two unidentified men from his house in Pampanga on October 18 last year.

Morquicho testified that the abductors told her that her boss was involved in illegal drug trade.

Kyungjin Choi, wife of the slain Korean businessman, said the perpetrators demanded an PHP8-million ransom.

She reportedly paid PHP5 million on Oct. 30, 2016 but did not give the remaining PHP3 million when the kidnappers failed to present proof of life.

The Department of Justice as well as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are now investigating the policemen including SPO4 Roy Villegas, SPO3 Rickey Sta. Isabel and PO2 Christopher Baldovino for their possible involvement in the kidnap-slay case of Jee.