MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The country's police chief Gen. Debold Sinas has tested positive for COVID-19, the spokesperson of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Thursday.
Police Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said Sinas was in Mindoro when he received the result of his swab test, prompting him to immediately return to Metro Manila.
He is asymptomatic and has volunteered to be confined at the Kiangan treatment facility in Camp Crame, the PNP headquarters, in Quezon City.
Sinas said he might have contracted the disease within the last two days.
Usana said PNP Deputy Chief for Administration P/Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has been appointed as officer-in-charge of the organization while Sinas goes on quarantine.
"I am very sorry for the relapse in the observance of mandatory health protocols," Sinas said in a statement.
Sinas was charged last year in relation to the mañanita or pre-dawn birthday serenade for him in May held in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, that allegedly violated the 10-people limit on gatherings to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Sinas was chief of the National Capital Region Police Office at that time, and the entire Luzon was under a strict lockdown then.
Despite the controversy, President Rodrigo Duterte refused to sack the police official and even picked him as PNP chief in November last year.
On Wednesday, Sinas led the oath-taking and donning of ranks of newly promoted police officers in Camp Crame.
As of March 10, the PNP has recorded 11,896 COVID-19 cases among its personnel, of which, 671 are active infections.
In a statement on the same day, the PNP said Sinas had appealed to the public to cooperate in the implementation and observance of health protocols as a spike in new cases has been observed in recent days.
"We cannot afford to lower our guard against the virus, especially at this point when the cure is already within reach," he said.
Total COVID-19 cases in the country reached 607,048 on Thursday, including 47,769 active infections, 12,608 deaths, and 546,671 recoveries.
- with reports from Doland Castro, Wheng Hidalgo and Zyann Ambrosio, ABS-CBN News
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