MANILA - Philippine National Police chief Gen. Debold Sinas on Monday thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for defending him against critics.
Duterte earlier said he has forgiven Sinas over the latter's mañanita birthday party during Metro Manila's enhanced community quarantine. Sinas was then the chief of the Metro Manila Police, tasked to enforce the strict lockdown.
"I'd like to thank the President for the trust and confidence. Ako po ay, parang nahihiya na ko kay President, lalong [dinedepensahan] na po niya ulit ako tungkol po doon sa mañanita, ilang araw pa lang na ganon," Sinas said during his first flag raising ceremony in Camp Crame.
(I am sort of ashamed to the President because he defended me about the mañanita just days after I was appointed chief PNP.)
"So I have mixed feelings. Natuwa ako pero (I'm happy but) at the same time nahihiya (I'm ashamed). I'm very happy for the support of the President for me as his chief PNP. Thank you very much Mr. President, rest assured of our best in police service."
In May, Sinas drew public ire over a mañanita, or pre-dawn birthday serenade, at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City that allegedly violated the 10-people limit on gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
He and his subordinates are facing administrative and criminal charges over the gathering.
Duterte is "very much aware" that cases against Sinas remain pending and is "merely indicating his intent to act with liberality, in consideration of General Sinas’ overall performance as a career police officer," Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.
Duterte may only issue executive clemency after a person has been found guilty, he said.