MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to keep Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas in his post as Metro Manila police chief will not affect the probe on his administrative liability over alleged violation of quarantine protocols, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Wednesday.
“We welcome President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s valid and reasonable exercise of command management prerogative over the decision to retain (Sinas) to the post as Regional Director of NCRPO,” PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said in a press statement.
Banac added that the PNP bows to the “better judgment” of the President on matters of relief and designation of police commanders to key posts.
“Nonetheless, we agree with the opinion of the IAS (Internal Affairs Service) Inspector General that this development will have no effect on the criminal and administrative cases that Sinas is facing,” he added.
Aside from Sinas, 18 other police officers have been charged with violation of City Ordinance No. 12, series of 2020, which imposes mandatory wearing of face masks and physical distancing, and Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, filed by the PNP-Internal Affairs Service (IAS) before the Taguig City Prosecutors’ Office.
Meanwhile, Sinas said he is now moving on from the issue.
“Ayaw ko na po manisi maski (ayaw tumigil) ‘yung mga (sinasabi) ng detractors at bashers ko. Hopefully, maka-move on na sila kasi ako magmo-move on na (I don’t want to blame anybody even if my bashers and detractors continue to pick on me. Hopefully, they will be able to move on because I am now moving on),” Sinas told reporters on Wednesday during the change of command ceremony at the Makati City Police.
Sinas, meanwhile, expressed elation over the President’s remarks.
“I’d like to thank the President for the trust and confidence (in me). Thank you, Mr. President for recognizing me. I am happy that the President has recognized our efforts,” Sinas said.
Sinas said he will continue with his duties as the top cop of Metro Manila.
In a taped public address aired late Tuesday night, Duterte said he prevented Sinas from getting fired or transferred because he believed he was a “good and honest” officer.
“Ako ‘yung ayaw na malipat siya (I was the one who didn’t want him transferred). He is a good officer, he’s an honest one and ‘di niya kasalanan na may mangharana sa kanya sa birthday niya (it was not his fault he was serenaded on his birthday),” he said.
PNP chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa earlier said Sinas will keep his post amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added that the campaign against illegal drugs and gambling has been intensified under Sinas’ watch.
Once found guilty, Gamboa assured that the police officers would be suspended and face forfeiture of pay.
Sinas came under fire after photos of his birthday bash at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City last May 8 went viral on social media.
In the photos released by the NCRPO public information office, which have now been deleted, it can be noticed that the police officials failed to observe safe physical distancing.
Sinas has apologized but insisted that there was “nothing wrong” with the celebration since quarantine protocols were observed. (ia/PNA)