President Duterte punched a wall when he heard about the dropping of cases against 22 alleged drug lords, the nation’s police chief has claimed.
Ronald Dela Rosa said the president had a fit of anger after learning of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) controversial decision this week.
He also claimed that The Punisher President knew nothing of the ruling — which was made on December 20 — until it was leaked to the media on Monday.
Speaking at the Camp Crame police headquarters today (Friday, March 16) the top cop said: “And you’re saying that the president was playing out a drama?
“I tell you, when the president found out about it, he punched the wall in Malacañang and his hand went swollen out of anger.”
Dela Rosa admitted that although he already knew about the DOJ’s decision to clear Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa and 20 others, he hadn’t told the president because Duterte had been “thinking of many other important things”.
“I think this case was relayed to me by General Obusan weeks before. I was unable to say this to the president until it came out to the press.
“As far as I’m concerned, I did not… because the president was preoccupied with pressing matters, not just this case. As far as I’m concerned, he only learned of this when the media broke the news.”
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported the DOJ’s acquittal of the 22 “big fish” on Monday. The dismissal of complaints against self-confessed drug lord Espinosa, Lim (who was Duterte’s ‘kumpadre’, or wedding sponsor) was said to be due to “weak evidence”.
The others cleared included convicted drug lord Peter Co, Lovely Impal, Marcelo Adorco, Max Miro, Ruel Malindangan, Jun Pepito and others known only by their aliases.
The resolution was approved by Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan and issued by Assistant State Prosecutor Michael John Humarang and Aristotle Reyes (who has since been promoted to sit as a judge in Lucena) nearly three months ago.
On Tuesday, the president was quoted as saying that Secretary of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre would be sent to jail himself if the drug lords walked free.
According to his spokesman Harry Roque, he said: “If Lim and Espinosa escape, I will put him [Aguirre] in jail. I can review that dismissal order. Nag-amin na nga sa Congress! Why not admit it as evidence against him?”
The dropping of charges has been met with widespread incredulity and condemnation, with critics calling the drug war “fake” or “a joke”.
Dela Rosa has hit back at these accusations, saying: “For those saying that our war on drugs is just a sham, I am mad at you. Comedy your face!
“How about the 108 policemen killed? Many have already died. That bogus label is distasteful, we are dealing with lives. Four thousand people have died, but you still call it a comedy?”