Some senators want Sinas reprimanded, arrested for alleged ECQ violation
MANILA, Philippines — Several senators on Wednesday believe that the birthday gathering for Metro Manila police chief Major Gen. Debold Sinas projected a “bad example” to the public, with some saying that the police officer should be reprimanded or even arrested for alleged violations of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) being enforced in Metro Manila.
The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) earlier shared photos of Sinas’ mañanita or birthday serenade on Facebook which showed the Metro Manila police chief receiving roses, accepting gifts, blowing candles, and interacting with guests and policemen.
“Kung totoong party, hindi maganda at hindi tama. Ganung kalinaw lang yun…If social distancing is not practiced, hindi mabuti yun, hindi maganda. It does not give a good example to our countrymen. It must not happen again,” Sotto told reporters in an online interview on Wednesday.
(If it’s really a party, that is not good and that is not right. That’s clear…If social distancing is not practiced, that is also not right. It does not give a good example to our countrymen. It must not happen again).
“It sends a very bag signal. At least a reprimand is in order. Walang matutuwa sa mga kababayan natin yung ganung nakikita. Kapag karaniwan na tao, huhulihin, pag ka opisyal ang gumawa e pwede,” he added.
(It sends a very bad signal. At least a reprimand is in order. The public will not like it if they see that. It may show that if it’s a normal person, he will be arrested, but if it’s an official, they are allowed).
A reprimand from the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief or the secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government would “suffice,” Sotto said.
He also believes that filing an administrative case against Sinas will still be a possibility.
“As I said meron silang mga sariling rules at procedures, I think it wouldn’t be farfetched if an administrative case is filed against the erring official,” he said.
“So mabibigyan ng pagkakataon mag-eksplika or mabibigyan ng pagkaktaon ang ehekutibo na kastiguhin ang dapat kasiguhin,” he added.
(He will be given a chance to explain and it will give the executive department to punish who should be punished).
Senator Francis Pangilinan, meanwhile, said that those who attended the gathering should be charged or arrested for violating quarantine measures.
“Kung may paglabag, dapat kasuhan. Habang nagtitiis ang milyon nating mga kababayan na sumunod sa quarantine at inaaresto, kinakasuhan at kinukulong ang libu-libo heto nalang si Sinas, at iba pang matataas na opisyal na hinahayaan ng gobyernong lumabag sa quarantine na walang parusa. Maling mali,” Pangilinan said in a message to reporters.
(If there is a violation, file a case. While millions of Filipinos are following the quarantine and some are even arrested, charged and detained, here comes Sinas and other ranking officials who are violating quarantine rules but are left unpunished. This is very wrong).
“Kung seryoso sila sa pagpapatupad ng batas sa lahat dapat sampahan ng kasong paglabag sa batas ang mga yan at ikulong kasama ang lubulibo na kinuling nila dahil sa quarantine violations,” he added.
(If they are serious in enforcing the law, all of them should be charged and detained along with the thousands who were arrested due to quarantine violations).
The PNP has launched an internal investigation into Sinas’ alleged violation of health protocols during his birthday gathering.
Despite this, Sinas still enjoys the trust and confidence of PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa, who said that he was given assurance by the NCRPO chief that physical distancing was observed during the celebration.
Sinas has since apologized, saying it was “never (his) intention to disobey” existing quarantine protocols.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief, also said that the incident involving Sinas sets a “bad example.”
“More than the quarantine violation, from whatever direction we look at the incident, it projects a bad example, coming even from those tasked to enforce the (enhanced community quarantine),” Lacson said in a text message to reporters.
“Social gathering clearly has its price health-wise, considering the tricky nature of the (COVID-19) virus,” he added.
For Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, violation of the quarantine rules or abuses by law enforcers would “erode the confidence of the people” in the country’s COVID-19 task force.
“It will be more difficult for the people to follow IATF (Inter-agency task force) rules,” he said.
Netizens earlier slammed the apparent gathering with some alleging there were violations of health protocols, like lack of physical distancing, during Sinas’ birthday event.
All forms of mass gathering, including social gathering, are among those banned under a community quarantine, which was imposed by the national government to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
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