‘Mahiya tayo’: Gordon, ‘Bato’ score Sinas for absence in Senate inquiry
MANILA, Philippines — Senators Richard Gordon and Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Thursday scored Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Debold Sinas over his absence in a hearing into the spate of killings in the country, making it “appear that he’s too busy” for the Senate.
At the beginning of the hearing, which was led by Gordon as chair of the Senate justice and human rights committee, senators were informed that Sinas was not in attendance and that the general’s office did not supposedly respond to the committee’s invitation.
Sinas was represented by Police Maj. Gen. Marni Marcos Jr., director of the PNP Investigation and Detective Management.
“His (Sinas) office brought down the communication to us that we will be attending this Senate hearing,” Marcos said.
He also told the committee that Sinas will not be able to attend the hearing because “he’s attending other activities.”
This excuse, however, irked Gordon.
“When you say, very cavalierly, that he’s attending other meetings as if the Senate’s is not important. That the Senate investigation is not important,” Gordon said.
“Hindi ako nagpapaimportante rito (I’m not trying to sound important here) but please have a proper excuse because senators come here and they want to know kung darating kayo (if you are coming). If you know that this matter that we’re going to discuss is important to the PNP,” he added.
Gordon said that by sending in a representation to the hearing, Sinas seem to “make it appear that he’s too busy” for the Senate.
“I’m not trying to insult anybody here. This is a very serious meeting as you can see, several senators, practically all, have come out with resolutions or bills expressing their concern on these killings,” the senator said.
Among the killings the Senate resolutions raised concern over is the fatal shooting of mother-son Sonya and Frank Gregorio in Tarlac in December last year.
“Pakiabot lang po kay (Give this message to) Gen. Sinas,” Gordon added.
Marcos said he would inform Sinas of the senator’s sentiments.
“I don’t want to go after you since the one representing and when you start saying ‘I cannot answer the question because I have no knowledge’ then we’re all in trouble. Naintindihan niyo po ba ako? Yung gusto kong sabihin (Do you understand what I’m trying to say)?” Gordon went on.
Dela Rosa, a former PNP chief himself, also expressed frustration over Sinas’ absence in the hearing.
“When I was a chief PNP, ‘di talaga ako naga-absent [sa] Senate hearing. ‘Pag ako’y pinatawag [sa] Senate hearing, dala dala ko pa yung buong command group ko saka yung aking diretorial staff,” he said.
(When I was PNP chief, I was never absent for a Senate hearing. When the Senate summons me, I even bring the whole command group and my directorial staff.)
Dela Rosa also took the PNP to task for not having its other top officials from different police divisions present in the hearing to answer the queries of senators on various topics.
“Mahiya tayo alam mo baka sabihin ng Senado ini-isnob niyo, ‘di niyo binibigyan ng weight itong invitation namin,” he said.
(Have some shame; the Senate might say that you are snobbing them, that you are not giving weight to their invitation.)
“Senado ito na nagka-conduct ng hearing so dapat full force ang attention niyo dito,” he added.
(This is the Senate that is conducting this hearing, so you should just pay full attention.)
Later on, Sinas logged into the hearing together with his command group and apologized for not being present much earlier.
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