PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa on Tuesday retracted an announcement on hefty cash bonuses for high ranking cops, saying they will only receive a sack of rice each instead.
His retraction came barely a day after he announced that bonuses would be handed out by President Rodrigo Duterte. De la Rosa said the payout was cancelled because the money from the presidential palace “did not come”.
“The bonus that’s part of our salaries, that’s already been released. But what I announced yesterday, we were supposed to wait for it but when I had that press conference, a lot of you were asking about the source of the funds, where it came from,” he told reporters on Tuesday, as quoted by Rappler.
“Malacañang (presidential palace), I suppose, was discouraged. We waited until evening but the cash gifts never came.”
On Monday, Dela Rosa said PNP top officials from the Command Group, the directorates, and heads of the regional and provincial offices were to receive PHP50,000 pesos (US$2,451) to PHP400,000 (US$19,610).
The country’s 81 provinces are supervised by 18 regional offices while there are at least 12 directorates and 23 operational and administrative support units at the PNP’s headquarters.
“So the Palace said maybe before New Year we might each be given a sack of rice,” he said.
According to Rappler, the PNP and Malacañang palace were criticised for the announcement.
The cash promise also created a stir among low-ranking police officers who pointed out that they have been on the frontline of Duterte’s war on drugs.
Dela Rosa, however, said the Christmas bonus was limited to the top brass because the government did not have sufficient funds to provide for all policemen, GMA News Online reported.
Although it is uncertain whether the cancellation of the bonuses was due to backlash against the palace, Dela Rosa said he did not want to preempt Malacañang.
“I guess they said, just wait, we’ll find money. That’s what they said. I told myself, other officials said… why did this have to happen? Such a waste.”
Dela Rosa explained that the impromptu announcement made during a PNP Christmas party on Monday came after he was informed about the “cash gifts” earlier the same morning. During his speech at the party, Dela Rosa told the top officials to come to his office to collect the cash gifts.
Dela Rosa did not say who gave him the information but said it came from a staff member of the palace.