MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday said cases against National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas will proceed despite the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to keep him in his post.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that while Duterte has decided not to fire Sinas, it does not erase the fact that he is still facing criminal charges while an administrative case is also in the works.
”Ang sinabi ni Presidente ay malinaw: Sa ngayon po ay mananatili siya. Pero hindi po natin alam kung ano ang mangyayari sa susunod ng mga araw dahil patuloy po ang proseso (What the President said was clear: He will stay in his post. But we don’t know what will happen in the coming days because the process is ongoing),” he said in a virtual presser.
In a public address late Tuesday night, Duterte said he will not fire or transfer Sinas over his birthday celebration that violated quarantine protocols last May 8, saying he is needed in his post.
Duterte said he prevented Sinas from getting fired or transferred because he believed he is 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.
Duterte said he believed that Sinas would have not permitted the gathering if he knew beforehand about the “mañanita” or the traditional birthday welcome by his colleagues.
“I do not believe in just firing him because kinantahan siya ng happy birthday (they sang him a birthday song). I’m sure na kung alam ni Sinas ‘yan hindi siya pumayag (if he knew about it, he would have stopped it),” he said.
Sinas has apologized but insisted that there was “nothing wrong” with the celebration, claiming that photos during the party were “edited”.
Sinas and 18 other police officers are facing a criminal complaint for alleged violation of City Ordinance 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.
He was lambasted by netizens after photos of his birthday bash at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City went viral on social media last May 8.
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. (IA/PNA)