Criminal charges against Metro Manila’s top cop Police Major General Debold Sinas and other “senior police officials” who attended his birthday gathering amid the enhanced community quarantine will be filed, Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Archie Gamboa had informed him about this, and who ordered an investigation on the event amid allegations that it violated the ban on mass gatherings and physical distancing protocols.
Roque said the PNP is seeking clearance from the Office of the President regarding also the filing of administrative charges.
“Major General Sinas is a third level officer and a presidential appointee; hence, a clearance from the OP is needed for the filing of administrative charges of the PNP. The same applies to the senior police officials who are also presidential appointees,” the Palace official said.
Sinas’ mañanita and birthday party drew flak from netizens after photos were posted on the official Facebook page of the National Capital Region Police Office-Public Information Office, apparently showing that social distancing was not observed during the event.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año had defended Sinas and said on Wednesday that what transpired was a mañanita or a tradition among the military and police where the subordinates greet their commander celebrating a birthday at the early break of the morning.
Ano stressed the gathering may not be considered as a party but it was still uncalled for amid the COVID-19 situation in the country.
Sinas has since apologized to the public but claimed that some of the photos circulating online were edited and grabbed from old posts.
Sinas refused to go on leave./Stacy Ang