Solon slams Sinas for restricting media coverage at NCRPO

Ang Probinsyano Party-List Rep. Ronnie Ong blasted on Sunday newly-installed National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Officer-in-charge Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas for his supposed anti-free press policies.

Hon. Ronnie Ong (House of Representatives/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Hon. Ronnie Ong (House of Representatives/ MANILA BULLETIN)

According to Ong, one of Sinas’s first directives was to force journalists covering the NCRPO beat to vacate the press office that had been allotted to them for nearly three decades.

The neophyte solon said that apart from dissolving the NCRPO media center, Sinas has also prohibited media members from conducting official business inside Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, the headquarters of the regional police force.

Moreover, Ong questioned Sinas’s alleged downplaying of the failed attempt of 16 NCRPO police officers assigned at the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) to sneak in illegal contraband inside the penal facility.

“General Sinas is an embarassment to the police leadership and should be removed right away. Instead of immediately castigating the policemen involved in this caper, he is even trying to downplay their misdeeds,” the congressman claimed.

In this regard, Ong asked Philippine National Police (PNP) Officer-in-Charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa to shun away from the “bata-bata” system in making appointments to key PNP posts, even as he insisted that his choice of Sinas for NCRPO head honcho was “obviously a big mistake,” pointing to his anti-media ways.

He reminded Gamboa that the media should be treated as partners in public service and not as adversaries.

Gamboa replaced erstwhile PNP Chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde, who resigned two weeks ahead of his retirement on November 8 after being implicated in the “ninja cops” controversy:

Another House member in ACT-CIS Party-List Rep. Eric Go Yap agreed with Nograles in that Gamboa might have made a boo-boo with Sinas.
“Kaagapay natin ang media sa serbisyo, plain and simple. Hindi natin sila dapat pinapahirapan at hayaan natin silang gawin ang trabaho nila (The media is our partner in service, plain and simple. We shouldn’t make things difficult for them and instead we should let them do their job),” he said.
“If the allegations are true, this news is very disturbing and is another step towards creeping erosion of media rights,” added Yap.
“Hindi natin maintindihan anong logic ang nangibabaw sa direktibang ito ng bagong NCRPO Chief. Tatlong dekada na halos ginagamit ng media ito na dati ay bakanteng kwarto na ginagawang tambakan lang. Kung kailan nagkaroon ng makabuluhan na pakinabang ito, bigla naman babawiin,” he further said.
(We can’t grasp the logic behind this decision of the new NCRPO Chief. It’s been three decades since the media began using this room, which was merely used for storage in the past. Now that it has a significant purpose, they take it back.)