By Aaron Recuenco
Five policemen assigned in San Juan were sacked from their posts after ignored the safe health protocols when they escorted Mayor Francis Zamora to Baguio City last week.
Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), said he had already ordered the re-assignment of the five policemen to the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit (RPHAU) of NCRPO in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig City.
The incident involving Zamora and his police escorts went viral in the social media after netizens, especially from Baguio City, criticized the San Juan mayor for allegedly acting that they enjoy special privilege by defying the quarantine rules on June 5.
Accordingly, the group of Mayor Zamora upon entry at Baguio City just passed by and ignored the border control checkpoint at Kennon Road. The driver of the lead vehicle just slowed down a bit, pointed out the vehicles tailing his police car, then sped off with the mayor’s entourage in tow going to Baguio Country Club without having to undergo the mandatory triage health examination.
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong also lashed out at Zamora and his police escorts for ignoring the health safety protocol which he said has been very effective in ensuring that local residents are safe from the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19).
Magalong said they have to send medical staff at the Baguio Country Club when the group of Zamora arrived just to ensure that they comply.
But in a statement, Magalong said Zamora apologized to him over the phone. Magalong was in Manila when the incident happened.
“As of this moment, a comprehensive investigation is being undertaken by the Regional Internal Affairs Service-NCR in close coordination with Regional Internal Affairs Service- Police Regional Office Cordillera Administrative Region regarding the said incident,” said Sinas.
“The five police officers were also ordered to submit their respective written explanation to shed light on the issue,” he added.
Magalong, for his part, said he also initiated the filing of complaints to the PNP leadership and the San Juan City Police chief.
Sinas vowed to address the wrongdoing of his men, especially on the implementation of the quarantine protocols.
“I will not condone any wrongdoing of our Police Officers in the implementation of the Community Quarantine Protocols, if held responsible,” said Sinas.
“We, as law enforcers, are bound to respect the existing rules and regulations anywhere in the Philippines. The safety of the people remains as our top priority in these trying times,” he added.
Ironically, Sinas and 18 other officers of the NCRPO became controversial over the former’s birthday celebration wherein rules on physical distancing and mass gathering were not observed. They are now facing charges regarding the incident.
Sinas defended himself and said that it was not a birthday party but a mañanita, a tradition in the military and the police wherein subordinate officers would greet their commander in the wee hours of the morning.
The word mañanita, however, now becomes a byword to be spared from the punishment in violating physical distancing and mass gathering.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan earlier suggested that those who want to protest the Anti-Terrorism Law should bring flowers and food and call their gathering a mañanita, in an apparent dig on the incident involving Sinas wherein he was spared.