Sinas a ‘good and honest’ cop? Never, says rights group Karapatan
MANILA, Philippines – A human rights group claimed that National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas has never been a “good and honest” police official, contrary to President Rodrigo Duterte’s beliefs.
Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said on Wednesday that Sinas’ track record while he was chief of the Police Regional Office 7 (PRO-7) — the spate of violence in the Negros island allegedly involving police personnel — should speak for itself.
During his briefing on Tuesday night, Duterte vouched for Sinas, who was under fire for allowing a surprise birthday party for him amid existing regulations on mass gathering and physical distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is no reason to spare Sinas from condemnation. With the trail of killings, illegal arrest and detention, and other criminal acts committed […] under his purview, he is in no way ‘good and honest’,” Palabay said in a statement.
“The most reasonable thing that the government should do is to relieve him from his post and to hold him accountable, along with the other perpetrators of human rights violations,” she added.
Sinas drew controversy after the NCRPO’s Public Information Office uploaded on Facebook photos of police officers throwing a “mañanita” for Sinas’ birthday. The NCRPO chief has consistently denied that they violated quarantine rules, saying that maintained social distancing.
He also claimed that some photos of him and other officers with beer cans on and under the table were just manipulated and that wearing a similar shirt on the two occasions was just coincidental.
Duterte defended Sinas, saying that he does not want the police officer to be transferred because he is a good officer.
Talks about Sinas brought back previous issues, like the raids on progressive groups’ offices which were accused of being safehouses and gun and explosives-making areas for communist rebels.
Recently, the human rights issues while he was at PRO-7 also surfaced. According to the Commission on Human Rights’ office at Region 7, the drug war killings increased when Sinas was regional police chief.
“He (Sinas) had a colorful stint here in the region. During his watch, the number of killings definitely increased,” CHR-7 Director Alvin Odron said.
Palabay said keeping Sinas at the helm of NCRPO is dangerous, because it shows that persons with authority can get away with accusations.
“The pronouncements to shield Sinas from criticisms and to justify a decision to keep him as the top cop of the National Capital Region are preposterous as it does not only convey a dangerous message that promotes impunity,” Palabay said.
“But most importantly because it reveals how this government, within its forces, is coddling perpetrators of human rights violations,” she added.
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