Ex-PNP generals win big in polls

Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa

RETIRED Philippine National Police generals led by former PNP chief General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa were big winners in Monday’s national and local elections.

With 96.17 percent of election returns already transmitted as of 7:30 a.m. yesterday, Dela Rosa, a member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986  will become the 2nd ex-PNP chief to become a Philippine senator with more than 18 million votes, the 1st being Sen. Panfilo ‘Ping’ M. Lacson of PMA ‘Matatag’ Class of 1971. Dela Rosa appears to be the 5th placer in the race for the 12-man Senate seat.

Other winners in Monday’s polls are former PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group director Major General Benjamin B. Magalong of PMA ‘Sandigan’ Class of 1982 who will become the 1st general to lead Baguio City. Running under the Nationalist People’s Coalition, Magalong led his closest rival by nearly 20,000 votes.

Magalong is known to have gotten the support of Baguio City residents who wished for a new brand of leadership and went for a candidate known for being principled and his untarnished integrity. The new Baguio City mayor used to be a Cordillera police regional director before he became the head of the CIDG who earned the ire of the former Aquino administration when he came up with a full report on the Mamasapano incident that killed 44 Special Action Force commandos in January 2015.

Magalong, as chairman of the PNP Board of Inquiry created to investigate the death of the 44 SAF heroes during an infamous mission to neutralize Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorist Zulkfli bin Hir alias Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, stood his ground despite pressure to absolve then President Aquino of any liability in the operation and thus was relieved as PNP-CIDG director.

He was assigned as PNP Director for Investigation and Detective Management and eventually as PNP Deputy Chief for Operations although he was not allowed by the Aquino government to get his third star.

There are two former PNP spokesmen who also won in last Monday’s polls: retired Major Generals Leopoldo N. Bataoil of PMA ‘Magilas’ Class of 1986 and Rodrigo P. de Gracia, a classmate of Magalong from PMA Class 1982. Bataoil ran under the NUP slate while de Gracia is with the PDP-Laban.

With 99.8 percent of all election returns already transmitted, Bataoil, a former Pangasinan (2nd District) representative was leading his closest rival in the Lingayan mayoral race by nearly 10,000 votes.

On the other hand, de Gracia defeated his closest rival for the Santa, Teresita, Cagayan mayoralty — Francis Sevilleja of UNA -- by some 400 votes.

Another PMA Class 1976 member, retired Lieutenant General Jefferson P. Soriano  of NPC was reelected as Tuguegarao City mayor defeating his archrival Delfin Ting of NUP by nearly 20,000 votes.

Another former PNP chief, ret. Gen. Hermogenes E. Ebdane Jr. is also returning as Zambales provincial governor. Ebdane of PDP-Laban posted more than 24,000 votes against his closest rival Amor Deloso.

Another retired police general, Reynor Gonzales of PDP-Laban is also returning as mayor of Lambunao, Iloilo after defeating his closest rival with a margin of nearly 6,000 votes.