By Mario Casayuran
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, said on May 15, Friday, that PNP National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas should get the punishment he deserves.
“Whichever way one looks at it, NCRPO chief Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas set a bad example in committing what he did during his birthday ‘mañanita’ or whatever he wants to call it,’’ Lacson said.
Malacañang stepped into the controversy by asking for a probe into the possible violations of social distancing measures by Sinas during his May 8 birthday celebration.
In photos posted on social media, Sinas was seen celebrating with his friends in civilian clothes and with guests without face masks sitting at a table, at the height of community quarantines in place due to the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis,
As a result, according to Lacson, Sinas has been bashed, criticized, and pilloried both on social and mainstream media for the incident. The NCRPO chief has since apologized and regretted his indiscretion.
“Certainly, he should get the punishment he deserves even as the appropriate authorities are already investigating him,’’ he said.
“However, we may also want to take into consideration his long law-enforcement service to the country and the Filipino people, and his present efforts in supervising the checkpoints all over Metro Manila to make us safe from the coronavirus threat,” he added.
Lacson clarified that his statement was not meant to suggest forgiveness or absolution for Sinas.
“Rather, it is an appeal to concerned netizens not to rub salt to injury by going to the extent of posting out-of-date photos to sow more hatred towards Sinas by exploiting the naïveté of certain individuals to join the bandwagon of hate towards the police officer,” he explained.
Even former PNP chief and Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa had said he did not agree with what seemed to be an untimely merriment of his former colleagues.
“It could have been better if they just delivered the food packs at the doorsteps of every household to avoid mass gathering and violating the social distancing protocol,” he said in a statement.
Opposition lawmakers earlier slammed the “insensitivity” and “double standard” of the NCRPO for holding the celebration amid the strict enforcement of social distancing measures under the COVID-19 pandemic.