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Indonesian police decorates ‘rock star’ Bato

/ 07:05 AM February 15, 2018

PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa (FILE PHOTO BY GEORGE GIO BRONDIAL / INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON)

As far as Indonesia is concerned, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa is a rock star.

The Indonesian police bestowed on Dela Rosa on Wednesday its meritorious service star, the highest honor given to government officials.

Speaking to reporters from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, Dela Rosa expressed gratitude to President Joko Widodo for being recognized as the “Ultimate Defender of the Peace and Protector of the People.”

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It was the first time the Bintang Bhayangkara Utama (National Police Meritorious Service Star) was awarded to a foreigner.

Gen. Muhammad Tito Karnavian, Indonesia’s police chief, praised Dela Rosa in his speech during the awarding ceremony.

“To the very famous and popular General Bato, thank you for your rock star-like inspiration to the Indonesian national police and the Indonesian people on how to fight the war on drugs,” he said.

Widodo had previously expressed intention to duplicate the Philippine police strategy to solve his country’s drug menace.

Through a video message, Dela Rosa told reporters in Camp Crame: “Thank you for this award and this will inspire me more to exert more effort in our drug war.”

‘Disturbingly inappropriate’

A group of human rights lawyers, meanwhile, condemned the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for lauding an “improvement” in how the PNP conducted its antidrug campaign.

“We find it disturbingly inappropriate to describe a reduction in the number of deaths resulting from police operations as an ‘improvement,’” the group, Artikulo Tres, said.

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Jacqueline de Guia, spokesperson for CHR, said in a television interview on Monday that there was an improvement in the police “Oplan Tokhang” (knock and plead), the campaign to persuade drug users to kick the habit and surrender.

But Artikulo Tres said CHR’s comment could be misinterpreted by perpetrators of extrajudicial killings as a “go-ahead” signal to continue.

“We insist that killing people without due process is wrong. You never unwittingly commend your police force when it cuts down the rate of this illegal activity even by 99.99 percent. In all cases, you condemn it,” said the group, which defended political detainees during the administration of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

“To those advocating for human dignity, that is demoralizing.”

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TAGS: Bato dela Rosa, Indonesian police, meritorious service star, Muhammad Tito Karnavian, Ronald dela Rosa, war on drugs
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