MANILA — The chief of the Metro Manila police, who once made headlines for a "mañanita" that allegedly violated pandemic protocols, is facing an investigation for the alleged harassment of a family in Taguig City, the Philippine National Police said Monday.
CCTV footage showed Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office, leading a group of officers armed with guns and in camouflage uniforms in dismantling the front house gate of a family living in a housing for policemen.
Sinas' group supposedly shouted at the family and demanded that they leave the property, even after they showed a certificate of occupancy and a police document acknowledging that they live there legally.
The PNP will investigate the incident, said its chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa.
He also clarified that the government owned the property, which was the old Regional Direct Support Unit (RDSU) Building of the NCRPO in Fort Bonifacio.
Sinas earlier said the Taguig family's patriarch Arnel Delos Santos was a retired policeman who was allowed to live there "for humanitarian consideration."
"However, it was made clear to him that after his retirement, sufficient time frame will be provided for him to vacate the premises considering that it is a government property," Sinas said.
"Despite several dialogues, notices and attempts to amicably settle the issue for him to vacate the property, all efforts exerted were futile. He refused to converse with PNP officials regarding their continued illegal occupancy of the motorpool quarters," he added.
Sinas also denied destroying the family's gate.
He said he and his men inspected the building on Saturday, which would be used as a quarantine facility for COVID-19 cases for cops, but Delos Santos had barricaded the parking area near the building "with barbed wire, used tires, and a private car."
"Upon inspection, I ordered for the removal of the barricade blocking the motorpool parking area," he added.
Sinas said Delos Santos did not face him to settle the issue and instead, sent his relatives, including a son who is a person with disability.
The documents that the son presented are also "questionable and incapable of being established," according to Sinas.
Sinas in May drew public ire over a mañanita or pre-dawn birthday serenade that allegedly violated the 10-people limit on gatherings to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. President Rodrigo Duterte had refused to sack Sinas.
VILLAGE OFFICIAL SLAMS POLICE MOVE
Mildred de Guzman, the purok leader at Barangay Western Bicutan, said the show of force from the police was unnecessary, especially in front of young adults in the community.
"Nakita po natin sa video mismo. Mga bata, na-trauma po sila. Nandoon din ang panduduro, nandoon na lahat," she said. "Wala sila armas at di sila lalaban, bakit sila nagdadala ng mga mahahabang armas?"
(We saw it in the video. The kids were traumatized. Even the gesture of pointing their fingers can be seen there, everything is there. They were unarmed and would not have fought, why did the police bring long firearms?)
Barangay officials said this was not the first time the police allegedly trespassed the Delos Santos’ residence. On April 22, De Guzman said many policemen in civilian clothes circled the gates of the house.
The Delos Santos family has been residing there since 2010. It has a lot of 5,000 square meters.