MANILA - Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Friday appealed for "a little compassion" for Metro Manila's police chief who was embroiled in controversy after violating quarantine policies when he held a birthday party earlier this week.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Major General Debold Sinas has "apologized and regretted his indiscretion" and has been " bashed, criticized and pilloried both on social and mainstream media," Lacson said in a tweet.
"We may also want to consider his long law-enforcement service and his share to keep Metro Manila safe from the virus," said the former police chief-turned-senator.
"Taking into consideration the past and present good deeds of P/MGen Sinas does not suggest his absolution from punishment, but only a little compassion by not rubbing salt to injury by posting fake and outdated photos to sow more hatred and exploit some people’s naïveté."
Lacson later clarified in a separate statement that his tweets do not "suggest forgiveness or absolution" for Sinas.
"Whichever way one looks at it, NCRPO chief Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas set a bad example in committing what he did during his birthday mañanita or whatever he wants to call it," Lacson said.
"Certainly, he should get the punishment he deserves even as the appropriate authorities are already investigating him."
Sinas' controversial party is seen as a test case of the Philippines' seriousness in implementing its quarantine rules placed to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said.
"We are enforcing the rules—rich or poor—and I think Sinas is the test case for this because he is a high-ranking, middle enforcer and we're taking steps to hold him liable for non-compliance to quarantine rules," Roque said, noting that criminal charges will be filed against the NCRPO chief.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Archie Gamboa on Tuesday defended Sinas saying there was "no violation" committed, despite a government ban on mass gatherings, but the National Bureau of Investigation said it would summon the NCRPO chief to explain his case in the incident that drew public ire.
Prior to Sinas' party, authorities were also criticized for not arresting Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) deputy administrator Margaux "Mocha" Uson who both violated quarantine policies last month.
Pimentel went to a grocery and accompanied his pregnant wife to a hospital despite showing symptoms of the highly-contagious coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), while Uson gathered overseas Filipino workers in a resort in Batangas during the Luzon-wide lockdown.