Sinas shows up late for virtual Senate hearing; draws ire from senators

Published January 28, 2021, 2:44 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Debold Sinas was forced to show up in a Senate hearing Thursday after senators called him out for his absence.

PNP Chief Gen. Debold Sinas

Senator Richard Gordon was not pleased that Sinas failed to respond to the invitation of the Senate justice and human rights committee for its virtual public hearing on the spate of killings in the country.

During the roll call of the resource persons, the committee secretary said “there was no reply” from Sinas’ office when they were contacted about the hearing. Instead, he sent Police Major Gen. Marni Marcos Jr., head of the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, to represent the institution.

Marcos explained that Sinas was “attending other activities”.

“You know, the Senate is the quorum of the people. When we invite, that should be taken seriously. And when you say very cavalierly that he’s attending other meetings, as (if to convey to) the Senate that its investigation is not important — hindi ako nag papaimportante rito (I am not trying to sound important here) — but please have a proper excuse because senators come here and we want to know kung darating kayo (if you are coming), and if you feel that this matter that we are going to discuss is important to the PNP,” Gordon lamented.

“If you’re representing him, you’re not making a good representation because you just made a representation to make it appear that he’s too busy for the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines,” he told Marcos.

“Paki-abot lang po kay (Please relay this to) Gen. Sinas. Because although he is retiring, this [is] one of the things that we are going to discuss, the fact that there is a revolving door…in the PNP, generals serve sometimes for less than a year,” Gordon added.

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, a former PNP chief, also lectured the PNP officials for supposedly not giving the Senate some respect. Sinas, he recalled, also missed the Senate public order committee’s hearing last Tuesday on the bills for the PNP’s modernization.

“When I was chief PNP, hindi talaga ako nag-aabsent sa Senate hearing (I was never absent in Senate hearings). ‘Pag ako pinatawag sa Senate hearing, dala-dala ko pa ‘yong buong command group ko at saka ‘yong aking directorial staff, yong aking mga deputy (Whenever I was called to a Senate hearing, I even bring my entire command group and my deputy staff),” he said.

“Dahil alam ko how important is the Senate hearing. Yong kredibilidad natin as an organization ay nakataya palagi pag hindi mo nasagot ng substantially yong mga questions sa hearing, ay [ma]sisira ka agad sa tingin ng taong bayan (Because I know how important the Senate hearing is. Our credibility as an organization is always on the line if we fail to substantially answer the questions in  the hearing, our image to the people will be affected),” he continued.

“Nirerespeto ko na ‘yong Senado, and natatakot pa ko na ma-bad shot sa taong bayan,” he added.

Dela Rosa said Sinas should have sent at least one of his deputies, a three-star general, to speak on his behalf.

Sinas later joined the hearing via teleconference and apologized to the senators.

“I’m very sorry Sir, hindi po agad ako nakajoin at sana maintindihan niyo po kami, Sir, at mabuhay po kayo,” Sinas said.