MANILA - The Philippine National Police on Thursday assured the public of an impartial investigation into the birthday party of Metro Manila's police chief despite a ban on social gatherings, saying policemen should be a "model for all."
Major Gen. Debold Sinas remains on duty but his removal "can be an option," according to PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac.
"We have also reminded already our personnel prohibiting any form of any social gathering that would be construed as mass gathering," he told ANC.
"We have to tell our people also that we are not exempt from the implementation of the guidelines under the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine...We have to implement the guidelines for everybody. The PNP should always serve as a model for all so everybody would also follow the guidelines."
All policemen who attended Sinas' social event on May 8 will be asked to give their statements to the PNP's independent investigative body Internal Affairs Service, Banac said.
Sinas had said the gathering was a "surprise initiated by his officers." Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, who oversees the police, said Sinas should have stopped the gathering "right there and then."
Police subordinates "normally would hold a tradition of serenading at the break of dawn their commander," according to Banac.
Photos shared by the Metro Manila police office on Facebook showed policemen giving Sinas roses and bumping fists with him during the May 8 event.
The official was also photographed mingling at a table, while others lined up at buffet meals. Some of the photos in the post have been deleted.
Sinas has since apologized for the event but claimed that some of the photos that made rounds on social media were from previous gatherings.
The Metro Manila police chief's claim will be included in the IAS' investigation, Banac said.
"We assure the public there would be no cover-up in this," he said.
The National Bureau of Investigation has been ordered to do a separate investigation into the incident.