The Philippine National Police’s Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS) filed on Friday a criminal complaint against National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Police Major General Debold Sinas as well as 18 other police officers and men over his recent birthday celebration.
The IAS cited in their complaint a violation of Republic Act No. 11332 or the law on the mandatory reporting of notifiable diseases and health events of public concern as well as for violation of Taguig City’s ordinance requiring the wearing of face masks and physical distancing.
The IAS said the complaint was filed before the Taguig Prosecutor’s Office. It is a prosecutor’s duty to determine whether or not to file charges in court.
The Philippine National Police also said it has filed administrative charges like Less Grave Neglect of Duty and Less Grave Misconduct against Sinas and 18 other cops.
Drawing public criticism, Sinas and the other officers celebrated the official’s birthday through a “mañanita” last May 8 despite a strict prohibition on mass gatherings during the enhanced community quarantine, a rule that is implemented primarily by law enforcement.
Sinas has apologized but claimed social distancing was observed during the event. Sinas also claimed that some of the pictures that circulated online were grabbed from old posts.
Sinas earlier said he won’t be taking a leave from his post unless ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The IAS investigated the incident upon orders of PNP chief Police General Archie Francisco Gamboa.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, whose agency oversees the PNP, said the incident was “a big no-no” under lockdown rules.
Gamboa said he did not believe there was a violation in the gathering because according to Sinas, physical distancing was observed.
“‘Yong ginawa niyang programa kasi parang in-encourage niya lahat ng kanyang personnel, even down to the PCP (police community precinct), na magbigay ng ayuda as part of his celebration (What he did was encourage his personnel, even down to the PCP, to give aid as part pf his celebration.),” he said./Stacy Ang