Critics should not underestimate the capacity of former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Bato dela Rosa in becoming a senator, Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo defended Dela Rosa following criticism hurled at him for his admission, in an interview, that he would need to attend seminars on how to craft laws in the Senate.

Dela Rosa, who is running under the administration party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), is expected to win a Senate seat with over 18 million votes.

Panelo said Dela Rosa should not be criticized for admitting his handicap as a neophyte lawmaker, pointing out that not all lawmakers are lawyers.

Parang pinalalabas nila dapat abogado lang ang nandiyan kasi legislation iyan (It’s as if people are saying that only lawyers should be there because being a senator involves legislation),” said the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel in a Palace briefing.

Panelo said Dela Rosa is a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Sinagtala” Class of 1986 and that PMA graduates are known for their “intellect.”

Huwag nating maliitin, nakakalimutan ng mga kumukwestyon sa kapasidad ni General Bato na PMA graduate ito: Hindi ba ang PMA graduates eh known for their intellect (Let’s not underestimate him, those who are criticizing him are forgetting that General Bato is a PMA graduate: Aren’t PMA graduates known for their intellect)?” Panelo said.

He said like Dela Rosa, another former PNP chief and PMA graduate, Senator Ping Lacson himself was not knowledgeable on lawmaking as a rookie senator but has then eventually improved.

Nakakalimutan ng mga nagko-question kay General Bato na si Ping Lacson, PMA graduate at PNP Chief din wala ring alam sa legislation noong siya ay pumasok (Those who are questiniong General Bato are forgetting that Ping Lacson, PMA graduate and PNP chief, also had no knowledge about legislation when he came in),” Panelo said.

“PMA graduate and PNP chief Ping Lacson also had no knowledge about legislation when he came in.”

Di ba naging magaling na legislator (Didn’t he become a good legislator)?” he added.

Dela Rosa attended the Mindanao State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in public administration for three years then transferred to PMA in 1982.

Aside from being a bemedalled policeman, Dela Rosa has a master’s degree in public administration and a doctorate degree in development administration both from the University of Southeastern Philippines.

Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar slammed some sectors for making fun of Dela Rosa for his answers in the interview, urging them to set politics aside.

“Laughing off and casting aspersions on the ability of presumptive Senator Ronald dela Rosa because of a post-election interview is counterproductive,” Andanar said in a statement.

“Let us take the high road, like the commendable appeals made by Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Risa Hontiveros, and rise above partisan and divisive politics,” the communications chief added.

“Casting aspersions on the ability of presumptive Senator Ronald dela Rosa because of a post-election interview is counterproductive.”

The communications head also found vote-shaming among those who do not accept the defeat of their preferred senatorial candidates as “unfortunate.”

“We find it unfortunate that some quarters who could not accept the crushing defeat of their senatorial candidates would resort to ad hominem arguments, such as vote shaming, to stress their points,” he said.

“Questioning or putting doubt on the ‘intelligence’ of the Classes D and E voters, derisively referred to as ‘bobotantes’ is simply wrong,” Andanar added.

Andanar also enjoined the public to learn from the lessons that that the recent midterm elections has taught everyone.

Andanar said winners, should work double time “to bring about the meaningful changes that were promised during the campaign.”

Political opposition and the Left-leaning party-list groups, he added, should accept their electoral loss and start to re-assess the strategies that did not work.

“After all, as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte used to say, we are government workers and we are here to serve the Filipino people. They deserve no less,” Andanar said.


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