THE Philippine National Police (PNP) Internal Affairs Service (IAS) said it will be “extra cautious” in its administrative investigation into the alleged breach of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) protocols during the birthday celebration of National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Debold Sinas.
This is to ensure fairness and balance between protecting public interest and preventing demoralization among the police officers involved, said IAS inspector general Alfegar Triambulo.
“Kapag nagkamali tayo sa ating approach baka ma-prejudice ‘yung public interest. Kasi itong mga taong ito, ito ‘yung mga leaders, mga opisyal na nagpapatupad ng policy ng gobyerno para labanan ang Covid crisis dito sa NCR. Ngayon, kung sa atin approach baka hindi maganda at ma-demoralize sila, apektado ‘yung general welfare. Kaya kailangan, i-balance natin. Kaya nga maingat tayo dito sa ating approach,” he said.
Sinas or any of the policemen involved will not be relieved from their posts, as is usually done to ensure an impartial investigation.
“Hindi natin gagawin ‘yun kasi maganda naman ‘yung performance nila, kaya sinasabi ko very delicate matters ito kaya nandoon ako, kasi kung magkamali tayo dito eh baka ang talo dito ‘yung taong bayan,” Triambulo said.
“Ito ‘yung mga tao na nagpatupad noong pressure ng gobyerno para labanan ‘yung Covid at maganda naman. Hindi naman natin makaila na maganda performance nila,” he added.
Triambulo said they will look into two things: how to correct the mistakes that were committed to avoid similar incidents from happening again, and the individual liability of the persons involved.
He targets to submit a report by next week.
For now, he said they will focus on correcting the mistakes and ensuring that these are not repeated.
“Ang unang mahalaga nito, hindi na maulit kung may mali doon. ‘Yung individual later on na lang yun. Kung i-pressure naitn sila ngayon, distress na ito eh kaya pinapalabas ko mga tao ko everyday as deterrence lang kasi may mga violation na sa mga human rights, sa point of view sa mga lansangan, kasi two months na itong mga tao pag tinatanong mo ano ‘yung kanilang gusto, eh kalahati lang daw araw makapagbakasyon sila sa pamilya nila dahil hindi nila nakikita asawa nila at mga anak,” Triambulo said.
“Eh hindi naman pupwede, (kasi) over fatigue sila, distressed, mainit ulo, kaya sabi ko...ng IAS kasi doon man tayo sa discipline at least deterrence lang tayo and then, ipunin natin yung magaganda, kasi kung fault finder tayo baka ma-discourage lalo. Kunin natin maganda para ma-replicate ‘yung ginagawa nilang maganda sa policy ng gobyerno,” he added.
Sinas drew flak after photos of his birthday celebration on Friday, May 8 were posted on the NCRPO’s Facebook account.
The photos showed Sinas receiving roses and being serenaded by his subordinates who threw the surprise event for him despite the prohibition on mass gatherings and the rule on social distancing.
In a television interview on Thursday, May 14, Sinas said his subordinates surprised him with a traditional mañanita before dawn Friday at his quarters in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
Sinas noted that during the event, he kept on reminding his people to observe quarantine protocols particularly the wearing of face masks and observance of social distancing to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
He said he immediately instructed his men to leave and prepare for the conduct of relief operation early that morning, which was still part of his birthday celebration.
Sinas said he believed they did not violate any of the quarantine protocols.
“’Yung gathering po na yon hindi po yun mali. Wala po kaming nakitang mali doon for me... It's very un-gentleman of me naman kung hindi ko sila hinarap o pinauwi ko sila agad sabihin ko na wag na sila kumanta sa akin. They prepared for that eh,” he said.
“Alam nyo naman po nag-observe naman po sila ng social distancing at naka mask po sila, maski ako naka mask. I think we observed naman the protocols,” he added.
Sinas said they are preparing the documents being asked by the IAS for the conduct of investigation including his affidavit on what really happened as well as the names of the individuals present in the event.
He said they were also waiting for the investigation of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) which was tasked to look into the criminal liability of the men in uniform involved.
The IAS investigation focuses on the administrative liability of the policemen.
Sinas brushed aside criticism of double standards in the enforcement of quarantine protocols.
“Hindi po yung double standard unang-una nandito po yun sa loob ng quarters ko hindi kami sa kalsada, sa loob ng kampo yun hindi kami nasa kalsada,” he said.
The PNP is the government’s lead implementing agency of the quarantine protocols.
As of May 13, a total of 171,257 individuals have been arrested for violating quarantine rules particularly on curfew hours, wearing of face mask, liquor ban, and ban on mass gatherings such as illegal cockfighting and gambling.
A former army soldier was killed by a policeman after a confrontation over the former’s violation of ECQ rules in Quezon City.
A barangay captain was asked by the Department of the Interior and Local Government to explain why she organized a parade to honor health workers despite the ban on mass gatherings.
A foreigner was charged after an altercation with a policeman who was enforcing the rule on face masks in a subdivision in Makati.
Metro Manila has been on community quarantine since March 15 as a measure to slow the spread of the highly infectious novel coronavirus, which causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), a disease that has infected more than four million people and killed nearly 300,000 worldwide. (SunStar Philippines)