PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte apparently wanted to keep Director General Ronald Dela Rosa as head of the Philippine National Police (PNP), amid call for the latter’s resignation after a Korean businessman was kidnapped and killed inside Camp Crame.

On Sunday evening, the President attended the birthday bash for Dela Rosa at the PNP- Multi Purpose Center in Camp Crame in Quezon City.

In a message for Dela Rosa, who turned 55, Duterte said, “Happy Birthday. You know, if I will remove Bato (Dela Rosa), [House] Speaker [Pantaleon Alvarez] and I would have not attended here tonight.”

Last Friday, Alvarez called for Dela Rosa’s resignation after it was revealed that former Hanjin executive Jee Ick-joo had been abducted in October last year and killed by a group of policemen inside Camp Crame.

In a statement, Alvarez urged the police chief to immediately resign to free Duterte from “further embarrassment.”

“Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa should immediately resign as chief of Philippine National Police and restore respect to the Office of the PNP Chief,” Alvarez said in a statement.

However, a photo sent to reporters by Duterte’s special assistant, Christopher “Bong” Go, showed that Dela Rosa was seated in between the chief executive and Alvarez.

Another photo showed that Dela Rosa and Alvarez seemed to have been able to patch up any outstanding differences.

Earlier in the day, Dela Rosa said that he and Alvarez are now in good terms.

In an interview with reporters after the courtesy call of Miss Universe candidates at the Palace, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that Dela Rosa was not to blame and the public merely “misunderstand the situation.”

“The individuals involved [in the killing of Jee] were not part of the PNP Chief’s team and that this matter is exactly what the President said that is corruption within the institution,” Abella said. (SunStar Philippines)