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Group slams ‘selective justice’ for Sinas, ‘mañanita’ cops

By: - Correspondent / @melvingasconINQ
/ 04:45 AM May 23, 2020

A civil society group has denounced what it called “selective justice” over the special treatment given to Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas and other police officers who apparently violated quarantine rules when they celebrated his 55th birthday in the wee hours of May 8, a gathering that was even announced complete with photos on the social media account of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).

“This is clearly a rule of personalities and the absence of the rule of law. It is subjective, selective and unjust. It is a despicable example of how not to enforce the laws,” the Movement for Good Governance (MGG) said.

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The poor or ordinary citizens “get mauled, punished and imprisoned if they violate the quarantine rules. They are held in dog cages under the heat of the sun. But rejoice the powerful and the mighty—the rules are bent in their favor,” MGG said in a statement on Wednesday, a day after President Duterte said he was keeping Sinas as NCRPO chief despite the complaints filed against him and 18 other officers.

Deemed ‘irreplaceable’

The Philippine National Police and other authorities have warned that violators of quarantine rules will be “immediately arrested and punished,” MGG said.

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But “(Sinas and company) are spared from the law, and considered irreplaceable,” the group noted as it stressed that the police general should be subject to disciplinary action not just for breaking quarantine rules but also for abuse of authority and “failing to demonstrate ethical behavior that is demanded from all public servants.”

The group also cited Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which it said imposes a prison term of two months and a fine of up to P1 million for violations­—but only on erring local officials.

“Did the legislators think that national government officials and members of the military and uniformed personnel are above the law?” MGG asked. “Public office is a public trust and government officials should lead by example. Otherwise, they are devoid of any moral authority to demand compliance from the citizenry.”

Coalition

MGG is a coalition of civil society organizations, and business and civic leaders.

Among the 50 signatories in Wednesday’s statement were former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and now Inquirer Opinion columnist Winnie Monsod (chair), journalist Vergel Santos and former Environment Secretary Elisea Gozun.

The PNP-Internal Affairs Service on May 15 filed criminal and administrative complaints against Sinas and his birthday well-wishers.

On Thursday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the legal action against Sinas would proceed even after Mr. Duterte made the decision not to sack the NCRPO chief.

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TAGS: COVID-19, health protocols, Mañanita, MGG, NCRPO, Quarantine, selective justice, Sinas
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