Cebu execs welcome Sinas as new PNP chief; militants slam his appointment
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Officials in Cebu welcomed the news on Police Major General Debold Sinas being named to take the helm of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
But for militants here, they will not forget the controversies surrounding Sinas’ tenure as the director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), particularly on the spate of killings and allegations over human rights violations.
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, in a press briefing on Monday, November 9, said they were happy to have Sinas named as the new chief of the PNP.
“Dako kaayo among kalipay sa Dakbayan sa Sugbo sa pagtudlo ni General Sinas as chief PNP. Dako among kalipay ug dungog nga ang kanhi regional director nahimong dakong opisyal sa PNP,” said Labella.
(The City of Cebu is very happy having General Sinas named as the new chief of the PNP. We are glad and take pride that the former regional director has become the top official of PNP.)
The mayor also said he hoped Sinas would give Cebu and the entire Central Visayas priority in assisting and implementing peace and order.
Lawyer Arvin Odron, director of the Commission on Human Rights in Central Visayas (CHR-7), also said they welcomed the new leadership, which was expected in the PNP.
Odron, in a text message sent to CDN Digital, said they hoped Sinas would continue a ‘meaningful collaboration’ between CHR and the police.
“I was reminded of him telling me before that human rights training for the PNP should be conducted and facilitated by the CHR rather than by the organic members of the PNP as they share the same orientation anyway,” said Odron.
“It’s a good manifestation that our PNP Chief has this trust in CHR’s expertise in the field of human rights. That was remarkable in the aspect of human rights promotion in the law enforcement sector, and we did train significant numbers of police officers then,” he added.
Before he was assigned to lead the National Capital Region’s police (NCRPO), Sinas served from 2018 until 2019 as director of PRO-7 with its headquarters in Camp Sergio Osmeña, Cebu City.
However, during his term, concerns over rampant, unsolved killings allegedly linked to the campaign against illegal drugs and other forms of human rights violations were raised.
Militants recall atrocities
Jaime Paglinawan, chairperson of Bagong Alyansa Makabayan in Central Visayas (BAYAN-Central Visayas), said his promotion could not eliminate the ‘atrocities’ made under Sinas’ leadership in the region.
“It should never be forgotten that Sinas was the head then of the PRO-7 when the latter rolled out a series of tokhang-style mass killings in both the urban areas of Cebu and the hinterland barangays of Negros Oriental in the dreaded Oplan Sauron,” said Paglinawan.
The claim of mass killings, however, was denied by then PRO-7 Chief Sinas, who said that the operation was legitimate and was covered by search warrants.
“No amount of whitewashing by way of administrative appointment and promotion could erase the horrendous atrocities Sinas has done to the Filipino people, especially in the Central Visayas region,” he added.
Sinas will replace General Camilo Cascolan as PNP’s top boss. The latter is set to hang his police uniform on Tuesday, November 10, when he turns 56–the mandatory retirement age for military and uniformed personnel in the country. /dbs
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