MANILA - The widely publicized birthday gathering of Metro Manila Police chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas despite the coronavirus pandemic is already an "old issue" that should not be highlighted anymore, the chief implementer of the country's COVID-19 pandemic response said Thursday.
The gathering, which Sinas had described as a mañanita or early morning birthday serenade last May, is only perhaps an "unfortunate incident" involving the Philippine National Police, COVID-19 policy chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said.
"Sa nakikita po natin, huwag natin po masyadong i-highlight iyong isang tinatawag nating maybe unfortunate incident kasi ang PNP po, iyan naman po, buong Pilipinas po o ini-implement po nila iyong talagang strict enforcement ng lockdown," Galvez, a retired military officer, said in a Palace press brefing.
(From what I see, let's not highlight what we can call an unfortunate incident because the PNP implements strictly the lockdown throughout the country.)
Sinas and the police force drew public condemnation over the gathering that violated community quarantine protocols. It later served as inspiration for mass actions.
"I believe it is already an old issue. So, na-resolve na po iyon ng DILG and I will ask Gen. Año on it. Sa pagkakaalam ko po, bale nagkaroon na po ng resolution po doon," Galvez added.
(From what I know, there was already a resolution.)
Galvez appealed for public understanding, saying not everyone knows the circumstances behind the gathering, photos of which were posted then later deleted by the National Capital Region Police Office on Facebook.
"Nakikiusap po kami na iyong mga ganitong klaseng issue na nakita natin, siyempre, mayroon din tayong mga shortcomings, dapat ang ano po natin, is maintindihan po natin kasi iyong circumstances po na nakuhanan po ng picture na iyon ay hindi po natin alam," he said.
(We appeal for understanding over this kind of incidents because we too have shortcomings. We should understand that we are not aware of the circumstances behind the photos.)
The Philippine National Police said it has filed administrative charges like Less Grave Neglect of Duty and Less Grave Misconduct against National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas and 18 other cops over the incident.