Bato tells SONA ‘protesters’: We will protect you, we won’t hurt you

  • PNP chief Dir. Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa assured ‘protesters’ the cops will protect them, not hurt them
  • He is also seen shaking the hands of an activist leader
  • At the same time, Dela Rosa ordered his men to lay down their shields and “relax”

MANILA, Philippines – It was a rare sight at the Batasang Pambansa never seen before in the last four administrations – cops ditching their truncheons and shields for friendly smiles, and even occasional handshakes, in an event that normally ends up in violent confrontations.

But the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief even showed up to assure ‘protesters’ that the police are not there to hurt them, but to protect them.

PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa came unannounced and surprised his troops, as well as the rallyists, with a disarming smile and a promise, saying: “Andito kami para kayo ay aming protektahan. Andito kami para hindi kayo saktan.”

[We are here to protect you. We are here not to hurt you.]

He also thanked the hundreds of activist-supporters who trooped to the House of Representatives in Quezon City to express their support for the President and his promise of change, a complete turnaround from their previous role as the government’s foremost critics.

“Ako ay nandito sa harap n’yo para ipaalam sa inyo na kami po ay masaya sa inyong ginagawa. Nagpapasalamat kami,” Dela Rosa announced.

[I’m here to tell that we are happy about what you’re doing. We are grateful for that.]

However, the PNP chief also asked for cooperation from the crowd made up of militants bearing different placards expressing their sentiment towards the government’s vow to lift the country out of its misery.

“Matatapos itong SONA na peaceful tayo. ‘Wag niyong isipin ‘yung pulis walang problema ‘yan. Hindi ‘yan problema,” he said.

[This SONA will end peacefully. Don’t mind the cops, that’s not a problem.]

In another unlikely scene, Dela Rosa is seen shaking the hands of Bayan Muna Secretary General Renato Reyes who earlier promised to do away with the traditional burning of effigies at the demonstration.

While assuring the crowd of a peaceful protest, Dela Rosa also ordered his men to lay down their shields and just “relax” while waiting for President Rodrigo Duterte to deliver his first-ever SONA.