'Proven track record': Dela Rosa says Sinas is 'good choice' as chief PNP

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 09 2020 02:01 PM | Updated as of Nov 09 2020 05:28 PM

'Proven track record': Dela Rosa says Sinas is 'good choice' as chief PNP 1

MANILA (UPDATE) - Senator and former police chief Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa on Monday lauded the appointment of Metro Manila police chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas as the new head of the Philippine National Police.

Sinas, who made headlines in May for breaching COVID-19 quarantine rules, is "a good choice," said Dela Rosa. 

"He has a proven track record," Dela Rosa told reporters in a text message.

"Nobody is perfect in this world. My advice to him: Continue the internal cleansing program and sustain the gains of PNP's anti-drugs and anti-criminality campaign," he said.

The deadly war on drugs, which is the flagship campaign of the Duterte administration, was first implemented during Dela Rosa's leadership of the PNP in 2016.

From July 1, 2016 until Sept. 30 this year, the government said it has recorded 5,903 deaths and arrested 259,296 personalities during anti-drug operations. Human rights groups say, however, that thousands more were killed in alleged extrajudicial killings.

Several sectors and personalities, both foreign and local, have raised alarm over the campaign’s alleged human rights violations. 

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, another senator who previously served as PNP chief, also approved of Sinas' appointment, saying the controversial officer is known to be "mission oriented" and a "performer."

"I’ve known him as a performer, always mission-oriented and undoubtedly will lead the police institution the way it should be led," he said.

"The birthday mañanita event was a hard lesson that I hope he has learned from which he will surely remember whenever he will be confronted in making decisions affecting the PNP as well as his personal reputation," Lacson told ABS-CBN News in a text message.

Sinas drew flak after dozens of police officials attended a pre-dawn birthday serenade for him in May despite a ban on gatherings by over 10 people while Luzon was still under enhanced community quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the public outcry against Sinas' violation, President Rodrigo Duterte defended him, saying he should not be blamed for the surprise birthday party.

While Sinas' appointment "will definitely raise a lot of eyebrows," Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said the police official should use his promotion as an opportunity to prove that "he is the best man for the job."

"Gen. Sinas should demonstrate his sincerity to continuously cleanup the ranks of our police force starting by leading by example at all times," Gatchalian said.

"This is a chance for him to show us, the Filipino people, that he is the best man for the job and he has heart to serve the nation," he said.

Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go underscored that Sinas' appointment, is the prerogative of the President.

"I trust the wisdom of President Rodrigo Duterte in choosing Gen. Sinas --- all things considered," said Go, who served as Duterte's decades-long aide before being elected to the Senate.

"After all, as the President, it is entirely his prerogative whom to appoint from those qualified for the post," he said.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, whose husband was Sinas' schoolmate in the Philippine Military Academy, said the President "could have made a more meritorious choice for Philippine National Police Chief."

"While Debold Sinas was my late husband’s underclassman and an old friend, unfortunately, the poor manner in which the PNP has acted on the waves of violence as well as minimized the risks of the coronavirus pandemic under his previous commands betrays his level of competence for this new role," she said.

Opposition Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said he was not surprised that the controversial police officer was appointed to the PNP's top post.

"Hindi na sorpresa na ang mga kakampi o kaalyado na nasasangkot sa mga kaso o katiwalian ay hindi pinaparasuhan, kinokonsinti o di kaya ay promoted pa," he said, noting that several administration allies were not booted out of government service despite several lapses.

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