Indonesian police defend award to Philippine police chief

Indonesian police have defended bestowing their highest honor on the Philippine police chief, who has been criticized for spearheading the war on drugs that has left thousands of suspects dead.

Ronald dela Rosa was among five neighboring police chiefs who were presented with the award by Indonesian police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian on Wednesday.

New York-based Human Rights Watch criticized the award, saying Indonesian government debased the rule of law by awarding dela Rosa its highest honor.

Karnavian reportedly praised dela Rosa for his "rock star-like inspiration" on how to fight the war on illegal drugs.

National police spokesman Setyo Wasisto says the award was based on good relations and cooperation between the countries' police institutions and has nothing to do with human rights.