Bato dela Rosa: No cover-up in SAF fund mess

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Outgoing Philippine National Police chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa.

Baguio City (CNN Philippines, April 17) — Outgoing Philippine National Police chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa says there will be no cover-up in the alleged misallocation of ₱59 million worth of allowances of Special Action Force personnel.

A group of current and retired officers has filed a complaint for plunder before the Ombudsman against former SAF Chief Director Benjamin Lusad and three others.

Dela Rosa decribed Lusad, a year ahead of him at the Philippime Military Academy, as a respected uppperclassman who saved him from being beaten up when he committed an offense while he was at the academy.

"Hindi ako nabugbog dahil nandoon siya. Dinepensahan niya ako," he said of Lusad.

[Translation: I wasn't beaten up since he was there. He defended me.]

But Dela Rosa expressed disappointment and dissatisfaction with Lusad's explanation on the fund controversy.

"Hindi ako satisfied sa explanation niya. Sabi ko nga, kailangang harapin nila 'yan. Nand'yan ang kaso e. Kinasuhan sila sa Ombudsman, harapin nila yan," Dela Rosa said.

[Translation: I was not satisfied with his explanation. I told him, they need to face it. The case is there. The Ombudsman filed a case against them, they should face that.]

He admitted that he has been getting reports about "rumblings" among the SAF ranks about their unreleased allowances but only learned that cases have been filed "about a week ago."

"Wala tayong iko-cover-up. Kahit na kilala ko si General Lusad as a very fine officer, a very good officer at that," Dela Rosa said, "but this time around, pagdating sa corruption, walang savior-savior diyan. You save yourself."

Dela Rosa was bombarded by reporters' questions on the alleged anomaly hours after telling the crowd during a military ceremony in his honor that he felt like he was on cloud nine.

At one point, dela Rosa was visibly irked when a reporter repeatedly asked him when he learned of the alleged irregularity.

Dela Rosa confirmed talking to Lusad to get his side on the issue.

"Ang explanation naman niya sa akin, masyado daw siyang lenient sa kanyang budget and fiscal officer," Dela Rosa said, adding that Lusad was claiming he did not monitor his staff on how the allowances were spent.

READ: Former SAF chief accused of plunder