Duterte won't fire Sinas over birthday bash amid quarantine

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte will not fire or transfer National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief, Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, over his birthday celebration that violated quarantine protocols last May 8, saying he is needed in his post.

In a taped public address aired late Tuesday night, Duterte said he prevented Sinas from getting fired or transferred because he believed he was a “good and honest” officer.

“Ako 'yung ayaw na malipat siya (I was the one who didn’t want him transferred). He is a good officer, he’s an honest one and 'di niya kasalanan na may mangharana sa kanya sa birthday niya (it was not his fault he was serenaded on his birthday),” he said.

The President explained that he studied the “merits” and “demerits” of Sinas’ case and decided not to dismiss him.

“Mas kailangan ko 'yung tao dito sa trabaho niya. Marami ‘yan sila (I need him more in his job. There are a lot of them). They’re all competent but you know seniority. It is his time to be there,” he said.

Amid criticism that Sinas and his guests were not wearing face masks during the party, Duterte said it was natural to remove them because they were eating.

"‘Yun naman nagsabing nakakita hindi siya naka-mask, e siyempre may mga meryenda ‘yan, may pagkain, alang-alang naman kainin nila pati 'yung mask. Di tanggalin talaga nila (Those saying they did not see him wearing a mask, of course, because they were having snacks. Of course they would remove them),” he said.

Duterte said Sinas will stay in his post until further orders.

“Sabihin mo the ‘law is the law’. Well, akin na ‘yun (You say the law is law but that’s on me). It’s my responsibility. But I will not order his transfer. He stays there until further orders,” he said.

Duterte said he believed that Sinas would have opposed the gathering if he knew beforehand about the “maรฑanita” or the traditional birthday welcome by his colleagues.

“I do not believe in just firing him because kinantahan siya ng happy birthday (they sang him a birthday song). I’m sure na kung alam ni Sinas ‘yan hindi siya pumayag (if he knew about it, he would have rejected it),” he said.

Sinas and 18 other police officers are facing a criminal complaint for alleged violation of City Ordinance 12, series of 2020, which imposes mandatory wearing of face masks and physical distancing, and Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

He came under fire after photos of his birthday bash at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City went viral on social media last May 8.

In the photos released by the NCRPO public information office, which have now been deleted, it can be noticed that the police officials failed to observe safe physical distancing.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Aรฑo said the gathering in itself was "uncalled for” and that Sinas should have practiced "delicadeza".

Sinas has apologized but insisted that there was “nothing wrong” with the celebration since quarantine protocols were observed. (PNA)


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