Neophyte Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa caused outrage today after he defended the anti-drug operation that resulted in the death of 3-year-old Kateleen Myka Ulpina.
His defense? “Sh*t happens.”
De la Rosa uttered the remark in his first Senate press conference in Pasay City today.
Myka died on Sunday after she was caught in a crossfire between the police, her suspected drug dealer father Renato Dolofrina, and his unidentified associate inside her own home.
Rodriguez cops alleged that Myka was shot because Dolofrina used her as a “human shield” during the gunfight. However, Myka’s mother said there was no truth to this claim and that her child died due to a stray bullet because she did not leave her father’s side when the cops barged into their house.
De la Rosa, President Rodrigo Duterte’s first Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, defended the cops and said that drug suspects’ families sometimes makeup stories about what went down in police operations, reported ABS-CBN News.
“Sh*t happens during operations,” he said. “I admit, there are instances wherein during the course of operations, honest to goodness there will be collateral damage.”
De la Rosa said that Filipinos are living in “an imperfect world” where such incidents could happen, reported Rappler.
He defended the members of the PNP further by saying that they do not actually want any child to be killed, reported The Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“Who wants this to happen? If you were a cop, do you want a child to be killed [during a police operation]? You don’t want that to happen because you also have a child,” he said.
De la Rosa’s comments did not sit well with some observers on Twitter.
Movie director Kip Oebanda (@kipoebanda) tweeted: “A three-year-old kid gets killed in the drug war and all Bato could say is that sh*t happens? No, dude. Sometimes sh*t gets elected.”
A three year old kid gets killed in the drug war and all Bato could say is that shit happens? No, dude. Sometimes shit gets elected.
— Kip Oebanda (@kipoebanda) July 4, 2019
Activist Renato Reyes Jr. (@natoreyes) was displeased as well. “One would expect more sympathetic or indignant words than ‘sh*t happens,’ especially from a sitting senator,” he tweeted.
One would expect more sympathetic or indignant words than “shit happens” , especially from a sitting senator https://t.co/nfVR5rzxHT
— Renato Reyes, Jr. (@natoreyes) July 4, 2019
@MiaMagdalena wrote: “The sh*t that happened is Bato.”
“Shit happens,” says the heartless Bato Dela Rosa.
The mother disputed the claim of police that 3-year-old Myka was used as a human shield by her father. Her husband hugged Myka after she was hit by a stray bullet.
The shit that happened is Bato. https://t.co/6e1oYWk8FB
— Miss Maggie (@MiaMagdalena) July 4, 2019
Over on Facebook, radio host and lawyer Jesus Falcis wrote: “Um, where’s the empathy?”
As Duterte’s first police chief, de la Rosa was responsible for launching the president’s bloody drug war in 2016. The PNP announced last month that 6,600 drug suspects have been killed in the drug war from June 2016 to May 2019. However, the Commission on Human Rights said in December that the number could be as high as 27,000.
Despite having left the PNP, de la Rosa is still concerned with the drug war. Last month, he said that he will file a Senate bill that proposes that drug traffickers be executed in public by a firing squad. He also wants the executions to be broadcast live by the media.
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