MANILA (UPDATE) - Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito Dolor said Wednesday they would file a complaint against Philippine National Police chief Gen. Debold Sinas if an investigation shows he breached screening protocols in the province.
"For me, there's no such thing as a VIP person, no VIP treatment for anybody. If he has violated the law, he should be held responsible," Dolor told ANC, when asked if Sinas was getting VIP treatment.
The provincial government is looking into the possible liability of Sinas after he allegedly skipped health screening when he visited Calapan City on March 11, the same day he announced he was positive for COVID-19.
"Personally, I am not concerned whether he's the chief of PNP or whether chief of military or whether he's a government official. For as long as that person after investigation [was] found [to have violated the law], he should be held liable," Dolor said.
The governor said they were waiting for official reports from the local government unit and local police before concluding the investigation.
Sinas arrived in the province via helicopter, which Dolor said required coordination since health screenings were being conducted in the pier. There are no health personnel at the airport because there are no regular flights, he added.
Dolor said local police officers who were exposed to Sinas had been quarantined and were scheduled to be tested for the virus. The country's top cop went to the province for the ceremonial vaccination of medical workers of Mimaropa police.
While Sinas was allowed to travel under the government's relaxed COVID-19 measures, the PNP reportedly did not coordinate Sinas' arrival with the city government, Calapan City Mayor Arnan Panaligan had said.
Sinas took a confirmatory swab test on March 9 ahead of his visit to Calapan City, which turned out negative, according to the mayor.
The PNP chief underwent another swab test on March 11 for his visit to Palawan, which turned out positive, Panaligan added.
"If there is really no coordination with the city government upon the arrival, then this can be considered a breach of health protocol," Dolor said.
In response to the incident, Mimaropa police director Brig. Gen. Pascual Muñoz maintained that Sinas complied with health protocols.
"Contrary to the circulating false information about the non- observance of the COVID-19 health protocols, PGEN DEBOLD M SINAS , Chief, PNP actually complied and accomplished more than what was required of him for his travel to Oriental Mindoro," he said in a statement released Sunday.
Before arriving at the Calapan airport, Sinas filled out an online registration and received a confirmation message of his visit, which were the only requirements by the city government for authorized persons outside residence, Muñoz said.
The police official added that Sinas underwent health screening from the medical team of the regional health service of Mimaropa police. Minimum health standards such as physical distancing were also observed during Sinas' visit, he added.
"In these trying times, we are asking everyone to refrain from sharing any false information that may trigger hatred from the public," Muñoz said.
"Instead, we are enjoining everyone to pray for the health, safety and protection of everyone especially our dear CPNP, PGEN DEBOLD M SINAS and all the frontliners."
Last year, Sinas, then a Metro Manila police director, was charged for allegedly violating health protocols for holding a "mañanita" or dawn serenade for his 55th birthday celebration.
Despite public backlash, President Rodrigo Duterte cleared him of any violation of COVID-19 rules.