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HEADLINES ‘DIFFICULT TO REPLACE,’ SAYS PNP CHIEF

Palace to have last word on Sinas

By: Julie M. Aurelio - Philippine Daily Inquirer May 19,2020 - 06:51 AM

Major General Debold Sinas—NCRPO FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang will have the final say on whether Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, chief of the Metro Manila police, will be sacked for breaking coronavirus quarantine rules, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Monday.

Roque told reporters about who would decide the administrative case against Sinas after the Philippine National Police chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa, said in a radio interview that the chief of the National Capital Region Police Office would stay at his post as he would be difficult to replace because he had many programs related to the government’s fight against the spread of the new coronavirus in the Philippines.

“I hope the public will understand because we are in an emergency situation. If he (Sinas) is replaced, we will never know, he is very difficult to replace because he has so many programs in relation to COVID,” Gamboa said.

Internal affairs probe

Roque said the Palace was waiting for the results of the PNP Internal Affairs Service’s investigation of Sinas.

“[I]t will be the Palace to decide if the administrative case will push through, and if it will, that will determine if General Sinas will be sacked or not,” Roque said.

The PNP Internal Affairs Service is investigating Sinas for violating quarantine measures by allowing fellow officers to serenade him on his 55th birthday on May 8 despite the lockdown of Metro Manila, the epicenter of the local outbreak of the new coronavirus that causes the severe respiratory disease COVID-19.

On Friday, the PNP filed criminal charges against Sinas and 18 other police officials, including five generals, for violating quarantine rules.

Sinas has drawn flak for the gaffe after photos of the affair on his office’s Facebook page showed him accepting roses from his guests, blowing candles on his birthday cake, fist-bumping with another officer, and his guests drinking without observing physical distancing.

Viral photos

Sinas apologized after the pictures went viral. He claimed the pictures were “old” and “edited,” but it didn’t save him from the investigation.

The pictures were later taken down, but the PNP proceeded to bring charges of less grave neglect of duty and less grave misconduct against Sinas and his serenaders.

The offenses carry a maximum sanction of suspension for 60 days.

Sinas and his well-wishers were also charged in the Taguig City prosecutor’s office with violating Republic Act No. 11332, or the Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases, and a city ordinance on community quarantine rules.

They are facing fines of up to P50,000 or imprisonment of up to six months or both. —WITH A REPORT FROM JEANNETTE I. ANDRADE

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