Dela Rosa hints at presidential run

Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa

MANILA — It’s a statement from someone who entertains the idea of running for public office that should be taken with a grain of salt.

“Wait until I become President. I will quadruple your salary,” Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa said after some retirees complained of being left out of the administration’s salary increase program for the police force.

During the weekly flag-raising ceremony at Camp Crame on Monday, Dela Rosa said policemen with a rank of police officer 1 would have their salaries doubled starting January 2018.

“Those [with ranks] from PO2 up to director general will have a smaller increase, but it’s still very considerable, a very big increase,” the PNP chief told his assembled men.

“We won’t be able to handle a 100-percent increase [of salaries] for all, so we will start with the PO1 first, because they have the lowest salaries in our organization,” he added.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief, described as a “good sound bite” Dela Rosa’s statement about raising the pay of police retirees.

Lacson said the “hardest part is doing the math.”

In a Twitter post on Monday, Lacson added: “It may be good to inform the retirees though that we’ve requested the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP to submit to the Senate actual numbers to validate the claim of DBM (Department of Budget and Management) that at least P5T (trillion) in seed money is needed to fund the program.”

Dela Rosa belied the claims of some retirees that he had submitted a position paper to Malacañang agreeing to a proposal that retirees would not be entitled to a pay increase due to the government’s meager resources.

He said that contrary to some retirees’ claims, he had yet to submit a position paper.

“We are still at the mercy of the policies being crafted by Malacañang. If the DBM says there’s no money and you could not be among those included in the [salary] indexation, what can the PNP do?” he said.

Dela Rosa has not ruled out running for senator in the 2019 midterm elections. He will retire from the police service on his 56th birthday on Jan. 21, 2018.

Vice President Leni Robredo on Oct. 17 said she found it funny that Dela Rosa was asking her to set aside her supposed presidential ambitions.

“[T]he general will know I have such ambitions if I have a mascot and standees in the shopping malls, too,” Robredo told reporters in Filipino.