MANILA - The so-called Marikina 10, citizens arrested while on an outreach, called out what they said was an apparent "double standard" in the implementation of quarantine measures, as National Capital Region Police Office chief Major General Debold Sinas recently held a birthday celebration.
Joan Bonganay noted that one of the photos posted by the Public Information Office of the NCRPO showed Sinas blowing his birthday cake amid threats of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmissions.
“Walang face mask, samantalang yung ibang tao bigla na lang hinuhuli, hindi talaga maganda ang birthday party na yon kasi maaaring sila rin hindi natin alam, hindi natin sigurado kung sila ay infected,” Bonganay said.
Bongayan, as well as teacher Lita Malundras, was among the volunteer workers of Bayanihang Marikenyo at Marikenya who held a soup kitchen in Marikina City last May 1 for displaced jeepney drivers.
The PNP, led by Sinas, filed a complaint against the group for illegal assembly and for supposed protest against the government.
The group insisted that social distancing was practiced, and bowls of soup were rationed to the recipients and the two bond papers they were holding only said they were seeking COVID-19 mass testing and more government subsidy.
“Paano ipinapatupad ng PNP yung sinasabi nila higgil sa violation sa ECQ kung sila mismo nakikita natin sa picture ano, PIO pa ng NCRPO ang nagpost nung birthday party na may nagbilang pa nga na halos 50 sila doon,” Bongayan said.
Malundras compared the application of quarantine rules between the poor and the influential.
“Siya ang nagpa-party, siya ang may banda, yung social gathering na ginawa at sabi ko nga po naisip ko nung nakita ko, imposibleng walang alak ang kanilang party,” Malundras said.
For his part, Marikina City Mayor Marcy Teodoro said he is providing legal assistance to the volunteers who are scheduled for a hearing at the Office of the City Prosecutor on May 20 and 27 on the complaint filed by the police.
“Balita ko wala naman silang supplemental na fina-file sa court ang kapulisan natin at mananaig ang katotohanan na walang kaso talaga at nagkaroon ng arbitrariness sa pagkakahuli sa sampung Marikina [residents],” Teodoro said.
Asked to comment on Sinas' birthday celebration, Teodoro refused to comment.
“Hindi ako imbitado dun sa birthday,” Teodoro said in jest.