Civilian lawyer is handling probe vs. MGen. Sinas’ birthday controversy for impartiality — IAS Chief

Marje Pelayo   •   May 15, 2020   •   553

NCRPO chief Major General Debold Sinas

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS) has started the probe against National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director PMGen. Debold Sinas over his controversial birthday celebration. 

According to IAS Inspector General Atty. Alfegar Triambulo, a civilian lawyer is currently assigned to handle Sinas’ case so as to prevent partiality or bias in the investigation considering that those involved are high-ranking police officers. 

Dalawang phase itong i-imbestigahan natin [We will investigate this in two phases],” Triambulo said. 

Kung mayroong dapat i-correct para hindi maulit ulit kasi nasa krisis tayo para maiwasan sa ibang mga lugar sa mga kampo na magkakaroon ng ganitong insidente. Yung pangalawa, yung individual liability kasi maraming involve dito. Ang degree ng kanilang responsibility, hindi pareho,” he added.

[If there is something to rectify firstly, so that such mistakes will not be repeated in other camps especially at this time of crisis. Secondly, pertaining to their individual liability because many are involved but the degree of their responsibility are of different levels.]

Triambulo clarified, however, that the involved police officers will not be removed from their respective posts while the investigation is ongoing. 

“Hindi natin gagawin iyon kasi maganda naman ang performance nila, [We will not do that because they are performing well],” the IAS Chief said. 

Kaya sinasabi ko na very delicate matter ito kaya nandoon ako. Kasi kung magkamali tayo dito, baka ang talo dito ang taong bayan. Ito ang mga tao na nagpatupad noong pressure ng gobyerno para labanan ang COVID-19 at maganda naman. Hindi naman natin maikaila na maganda performance nila,” he said. 

[This is a very delicate matter that’s why I’m there. Because if we make a wrong move with this one, it will be the public’s loss. These are the authorities who are enforcing government pressure to combat COVID-19 and the results are very good. We cannot deny that their performance has been commendable.]

Triambulo said they are being careful in conducting the investigation so as not to affect the morale of the entire police force and compromise their performance in line with the national response on COVID-19 pandemic.

“Kapag nagkamali tayo sa ating approach baka ma-prejudice yung public interest [If we are not careful with our approach, we might prejudice public interest],” Triambulo said.

All involved police officers will face multiple administrative and criminal charges if alleged violations of the IATF resolution and the law are proven. 

The IAS targets to finish the investigation within this week. 

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque revealed that the PNP is now drafting the criminal case against NCRPO Chief Sinas and other involved police officials. 

Roque said the PNP has asked the Office of the President for a clearance to file the appropriate charges against the involved police officials. 

Also, the Office of the Executive Secretary has also sought an investigation on the case. 

“It’s a significant development that no less than executive secretary has ordered the investigation and the results be forwarded to his office,” Roque concluded. MNP (with information from Lea Ylagan)

NCRPO seizes shabu worth P81.6-M in Taguig City

Maris Federez   •   May 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has recorded one of the biggest amounts of methamphetamine hydrochloride, commonly known as “shabu”, confiscated by local police during an anti-illegal drug operation on Friday night, May 22, along C6 Road in Lower Bicutan, Taguig City.

The combined anti-illegal drug efforts of the Regional Intelligence Division/Regional Special Operations Unit- NCRPO, Regional Drug Enforcement Agency, District Intelligence Division- Southern Police District and Taguig City Police Station together with Philippine National Police- Drug Enforcement Group Special Operations Unit 4, all under the leadership of PMGen. Debold Sinas resulted in an armed encounter against the two (2) armed suspects.

The NCRPO chief identified the suspects as Ryan Labandaria and Ervyn Querubin.

The arrest was made through a buy-bust operation wherein a police operative acted as a poseur buyer.

The suspects, however, noticed that they were dealing with the police and a scuffle ensued. The suspects then fled the scene on board a black Nissan Navarra with the police on their tail.

The police said the suspects were subsequently apprehended and the operatives yielded twelve (12) large packs of dangerous drugs wrapped in Chinese Tea Bag packaging with an estimated weight of more or less 12 Kilograms of suspected shabu, and with an estimated DDB Value of Php 81.6-million.

Aside from the drugs, the police were also able to confiscate the following:

  • one .45 caliber pistol with one magazine loaded with six (6) live ammunitions;
  • one KG9 sub machine gun with one live ammunition for chamber load inserted with banana type magazine loaded with nine (9) live ammunitions; and,
  • one extra banana type magazine loaded with nine (9) live ammunitions

Police said an ambulance was called to bring the wounded suspects to hospital for medical treatment.

All evidence had also been brought to the RSOG-NCRPO for safekeeping, while the illegal drugs will be submitted to the Crime lab for examination.

Sinas, meanwhile, commended the operating teams for what the chief called a remarkable accomplishment of Team NCRPO’s war against illegal drugs.

“This accomplishment is reflective of Team NCRPO’s dedication and unwavering support of the marching order of the President and the Chief, PNP to cleanse the Metro from proliferation of illegal drugs,” Sinas said.

“With the largest amount of shabu busted by Team NCRPO so far this year, we have also minimized its possibility of destroying the lives and future of our fellowmen,” he added. — /mbmf

Duterte keeps ‘honest’ Sinas amid birthday controversy

Marje Pelayo   •   May 20, 2020

NCRPO chief Major General Debold Sinas

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has finally spoken regarding the controversy involving his appointee, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief MGen. Debold Sinas.

Sinas is in hot water for violation of quarantine protocols during a mañanita or a surprise celebration that his staff set up for his birthday.

But the Chief Executive said he will not order Sinas relieved as he vouched for his credibility describing him as ‘honest’ and ‘good.’

Ako ang ayaw na malipat siya [I personally do not want to relieve him.] He is a good officer,” the President said during a meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 on Tuesday night (May 19). 

“He is an honest one and hindi niya kasalanan kung may mangharana sa kaniya sa birthday niya [it is not his fault if people serenaded him on his birthday],” he added in defense of Sinas. 

The President defended himself for siding with Sinas despite mounting criticisms against the NCRPO director. 

Kailangan ko iyong tao. Mas kailangan ko yung tao dito sa trabaho niya, [I need him. I need him for the position],” the President argued.

I do not believe in firing him because kinantahan siya ng happy birthday, [I do not believe in firing him just because he was serenaded with ‘Happy Birthday’],” he added.

He said he made sure to weigh his decision and he has decided to keep Sinas.

Sabihin mong the law is the law, akin na yun. [You may say that the law is law, but that is on me]. It’s my responsibility. I will not order his transfer, he stays there,” the President concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Lacson urges netizens: Stop sowing hatred against NCRPO chief over ECQ birthday get-together

Robie de Guzman   •   May 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Friday appealed to some social media users to stop sowing hatred towards Metro Manila’s police chief who was embroiled in controversy after allegedly violating quarantine protocols during a “mañanita” held for his birthday last week.

Lacson said National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Major General Debold Sinas has already “apologized and regretted his indiscretion,” and that he has been “bashed, criticized and pilloried both on social media and mainstream media” for the incident.

“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,” he said in a statement.

“Certainly, he should get the punishment he deserves even as the appropriate authorities are already investigating him,” he added.

“However, we may also want to take into consideration his long law-enforcement service to the country and the Filipino people, and his present efforts in supervising the checkpoints all over Metro Manila to make us safe from the coronavirus threat,” he further stated.

But Lacson clarified that his statement is “not to suggest forgiveness or absolution” for Sinas.

“Rather, it is an appeal to concerned netizens not to rub salt to injury by going to the extent of posting out-of-date photos to sow more hatred towards Sinas by exploiting the naïveté of certain individuals to join the bandwagon of hate towards the police officer,” he said.

Sinas earlier apologized for what transpired during his birthday, saying he did not intend to disobey protocols related to the implementation of the ECQ to contain the spread of COVID-19.

He also said that some of the photos circulating online were “edited and grabbed from old posts” and do not define the totality of what really happened.

The photos, earlier posted on the NCRPO Facebook page, showed Sinas handing cakes and roses during the event. A photo also showed Sinas sitting at a table with guests.

The photos were said to be taken during a party held for Sinas to celebrate his birthday. Police officers gave him a mañanita, a traditional early morning serenade, where they dine together.

The said event was met with criticism for allegedly breaking quarantine rules.

Philippine National Police chief General Archie Gamboa said he already ordered a probe into the incident.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año also said that Sinas, as a police official, should serve as an example in following protocols especially those related to the containment of COVID-19.

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