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PNP chief: I did see Duterte punch wall

By Martin A. Sadongdong

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” M. dela Rosa yesterday insisted that he saw President Duterte punch a wall in Malacañang out of frustration on the Department of Justice’s recent decision to clear several high-profile drug suspects.

Dela Rosa’s account of the President’s outrage sparked an exchange of contrasting remarks between the PNP chief and presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who said that the incident may really not have happened.

“Sinabi ko na nga sa inyo eh,” Dela Rosa said when asked if Duterte’s show of outrage really occurred.

He said Roque does not believe him as he did not see Duterte punch the wall. “Kung hindi niya nakita, then you excuse him. Sinabi ko na eh,” he added.

The exchange of words between Dela Rosa and Roque started when the PNP chief announced during an event last March 16 that Duterte punched a wall in Malacanang due to extreme anger on the DoJ’s ruling.

“I tell you noong nagalit si Presidente, tingnan niyo ‘yung kamay niya namaga. Noong nagalit siya nang malaman niya, sinuntok niya ‘yung wall ng Malacañang,” Dela Rosa said during the inauguration of the PNP-Civil Security Group’s One-Stop Shop Building in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Asked by Malacañang reporters about the incident the following day, Roque said he wasn’t sure if it happened as Duterte’s hands seemed to be not swollen, contrary to Dela Rosa’s claims.

Duterte was in Malacañang last March 13 for the PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines’ joint command conference when he learned about the DoJ ruling which cleared Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr., Peter Lim, and about 20 others of illegal drugs charges.

Dela Rosa and Roque said that they were with the President that day.