Press Release
June 9, 2021


June 9, 2021; 9:00AM


SEN. DELA ROSA: Magandang umaga muli sa ating lahat.

March 8, 2021 was supposed to be a day of celebration and merriment. Calbayog City Mayor Ronaldo Aquino, accompanied by his security escorts, was on his way to his son's birthday. However, they did not make it to the birthday at all. The mayor and some of his companions were killed in what appeared to be an alleged shootout between Mayor Aquino's bodyguards and the personnel of the Philippine National Police.

Before anything else, please allow me to extend my deepest sympathies to the bereaved families of those who lost their lives in this unfortunate incident. To the Aquino family, condolence sainyo ma'am, sir. At saka to the bereaved family of the killed policemen. Yung, dalawa ba yung pulis na namatay? We also extend our condolences to them.

While we are not a court of justice to determine who should be held accountable as this power is exclusively vested in the Judiciary, we are called upon by our sworn duty as members of the Legislature. Our investigation, in aid of legislation, is the first step in ensuring that this incident will not be repeated through the enactment of applicable laws or improvement of our existing ones. This hearing, therefore, is a way for this representation, as well as the members of this Committee, to heed the call for justice.

We must begin by getting the facts straight. Noong unang inilabas ang report tungkol sa insidente, 'ambush' ang salitang ginamit. Kinabukasan, atin nang nabalitaan na ang nasabing ambush ay isa na palang shootout, sa pagitan ng kampo ni Mayor Aquino at ng mga pulis. Alin nga ba ang totoo: ambush o shootout?

Another issue that has surfaced is the drug angle. Were these tragic deaths related to an alleged 'drug list'? While we know how important it is for this government to push through with its drug war, the emphasis must still be on employing just means to secure just ends.

The government's war on drugs has seen its share of successes over the years in this administration. We have worked hard to make sure that this war remains true to its original intent: to cleanse this country of the drug menace. That is why it saddens me whenever the same drug war is allegedly being twisted and used to forward some other personal or even political agenda.

We should also give emphasis on how we can better preserve the crime scene. Contamination of the area where an alleged crime was committed and all possible evidence to be recovered is, in a way, a form of injustice to the victims and something that we must be worried about.

In view of the facts that will be laid down in this investigation, we may then examine if there are existing gaps in legislation, particularly in the conduct of police operations, and if so, how we can best address them.

Truly, to the extent possible, our pursuit for law and order must not result in the loss of lives. The promise to serve and protect is a duty that must be done for all, be it an ordinary citizen or a public official. At the same time, those who have chosen the path of politics and public service must carry out their duties with integrity and honor.

In the end, I would like to repeat my earlier point. It is not enough for us to say that our end goal is justice. The means we undertake to achieve justice must, in themselves, be just.

I look forward to our discussion in this hearing, not only to get a grasp of the facts, but more importantly to help us all draw closer to the truth. Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat.

News Latest News Feed