MANILA - The government's brutal war on drugs was not wrong, but it definitely had flaws, the former head of the government's controversial campaign said.
"It was not wrong, but it was imperfect," said Ronald Dela Rosa in an interview on ANC's Headstart.
Oplan Tokhang, or the house-to-house "knock and plead" operation led by policemen, has long been criticized for supposedly encroaching human rights. Police however maintained the operation significantly paralyzed the drug trade.
Bato said it was imperfect because some policemen had drug involvement but the 'Tokhang' successfully transformed drug suspects.
"Two percent lang sa buong kapulisan ang involved sa droga, 98 percent matino," he said.
Should he be elected senator, Bato will push for the reimposition of the death penalty for drug traffickers.
"I value the life of the innocent people na nasisira dito sa ginagawa nilang sindikato sa droga," said Dela Rosa.
Dela Rosa, who is part of the administration slate running for a seat in the Senate in the midterm polls, said his advocacy includes making the Philippines a drug and crime-free country.
Dela Rosa said 66 percent of Filipinos also believe that drug users in their areas have declined, citing a survey conducted in the last quarter of 2018.
"Ibig sabihin we are winning the war. Yun naman ang objective natin na pababain yung drug addiction going towards, kung pwede san, maging drug-free ang Pilipinas," he said.
Last month, Dela Rosa met with Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona whom he asked for forgiveness for those who died in government's war on drugs campaign.
"Sana ipagdasal mo ako at yung nangamatay sana mapunta sila sa langit at matahimik na kanilang kaluluwa," Dela Rosa said.
He explained that no matter how bad a person lived his his life, he still deserved to live.
"Hindi dapat mamatay 'yan. Ngayon, namatay sila sa ating war on drugs, kargo de konsensiya ko 'yun. Ako'y nakokonsensiya dahil nangyari 'yan during my time," he said.
Dela Rosa led the Duterte administration's war on drugs campaign as head of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
"Ito namang drug lords, drug traffickers I also value their life, but less than the value of itong namamatay na nasisira ang kinabukasan dahil sa ilegal na droga," he added.
Dela Rosa would also like to bring back the police training to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“Ngayon talaga there is a great disconnect between the training at saka yung PNP organization. Tayo lang ang police agency sa buong bansa na hindi nagte-train sa sarili nating pulis,” he said.
The training, he said, is being handled by the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC), a separate and distinct agency outside of the PNP.
“Dapat ibalik sa PNP na ang mag-train sa kaniyang mga pulis,” he said.