Sinas stays as NCRPO amid public uproar, filing of charges over mañanita

By Aaron Recuenco

Embattled Metro Manila police chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas will stay in his post amid the public uproar over his birthday celebration and the filing of charges against him for violation of quarantine rules on social distancing and mass gathering.

Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas (NCRPO PIO / MANILA BULLETIN) Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas

Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said the emergency situation that the country faces in connection with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), with Metro Manila being the hardest hit, is one of the major reasons why Sinas has to stay as director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).

“I hope the public would understand that we have an emergency situation. If he is replaced, we will never know. It is difficult to replace him because he has a lot of programs in relation to COVID,” said Gamboa in an interview over dzMM Teleradyo.

Another reason, according to Gamboa, is Sinas' campaign against illegal gambling in Metro Manila.

“When he assumed the leadership of the NCRPO, illegal gambling in National Capital Region really stopped,” said Gamboa.

“I hope that the public would be able to validate that there is really no bribery when it comes to illegal gambling in NCR,” he added.

Sinas was charged in connection with his birthday celebration at the NCRPO Headquarters in Camp Crame on May 8, along with several other ranking officials of the Metro Manila Police.

But Sinas denied that they violated the rules, saying it is not a birthday celebration but a mañanita, a tradition in the uniformed service where senior officers are greeted by their men in the early morning of their birthdays.

The photos that circulated in the social media became one of the pieces of evidence used against Sinas and other NCRPO officers. Even Malacanang said that President Duterte considered it wrong.

Sinas’ birthday celebration also raised the issue of double standard in the implementation of the quarantine rules.

But Gamboa said that he is not condoning the action of Sinas.

“That's why as you have observed during a virtual presser on Tuesday (last week), I said charges would be filed within 48 hours,” said Gamboa.