PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief General Archie Gamboa on Wednesday, May 13, said no violation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) rules was committed when Metro Manila police personnel held a mañanita to mark the birthday of their chief.
“Una walang party nangyari ang sabi ni General Sinas. Probably nagkaroon ng mañanita pero doon sa mañanita ang sabi ni General Sinas is that in-observe pa din nila ‘yung mga social distancing. Now I don't think naman na merong violation ito,” Gamboa said in a virtual press conference on Tuesday, May 12.
He was referring to National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Debold Sinas, who was seen receiving roses from police personnel and blowing his birthday candles in photos posted on the NCRPO’s Facebook page.
A photo also showed guests partaking of a buffet while another showed Sinas and other NCRPO personnel gathered at a table.
The post, which drew flak from netizens for violating social distancing protocols, has been deleted.
Mass gatherings are prohibited as part of the ECQ protocols to slow the spread of the highly infectious novel coronavirus, which causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Gamboa said the PNP leadership will look into the incident.
“Police personnel from NCRPO and he assured me that physical distancing was observed that time so kung meron man then I will look into but as of yet, I still trust naman General Sinas,” he said.
“Alam naman natin napakahirap nung trabaho niya sa NCRPO but nevertheless it is not an excuse for him not to follow simple health protocols and of course we encourage him to do so,” he added.
The police are among those in the front lines of the battle against Covid-19 as they implement quarantine measures that prohibit mass gatherings, either planned or spontaneous.
Other prohibited events are movie screenings, concerts, sporting events and other entertainment activities, community assemblies and non-essential work-related gatherings.
The PNP earlier arrested 21 protesters for holding a picket to demand for food food assistance in Quezon City.
The birthday “party” was held while the PNP was striving to contain the spread of the virus among its ranks to ensure the continuous performance of their duties and responsibilities.
As of May 8, a total of 131 cops were confirmed to have Covid-19. Four had died while 49 have recovered. (SunStar Philippines)