‘Law is law unless friends kayo:’ Netizens slam gov’t double standards

Gaby Baizas
This comes after policemen celebrated the birthday of Metro Manila police chief Debold Sinas, violating several quarantine guidelines

MANILA, Philippines – “Law is law” trended on Twitter on Wednesday, May 13, after dozens of policemen gathered to celebrate the birthday of Metro Manila police chief Debold Sinas on May 8.

Photos of the celebration were posted on the official Facebook page of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO). The post was no longer available as of Wednesday morning, May 13.

In a Facebook Live press briefing on Tuesday, May 12, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Archie Gamboa said Sinas informed him that “no party happened.” 

Gamboa said a mañanita – an early morning serenade – might have happened, and Sinas claimed physical distancing was observed. 

“I don’t think may violation ito,” Gamboa said.

Photos of the event showed otherwise, as dozens of policemen gathered in Camp Bagong Diwa and sat down at tables with one another. Government officials and health experts have prohibited mass gatherings during the lockdown, and have prescribed physical distancing of at least 6 feet between people.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Wednesday the party was “a big no-no,” and that Sinas could have also called off the party as soon as it started.

On the same day, Gamboa told Rappler he ordered the PNP Internal Affairs Service to probe Sinas’ event. Sinas has since apologized as well.

The “law is law” or “dura lex sed lex (the law may be harsh, but it is the law)” argument gained traction after trolls and staunch supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration defended the recent closure of media giant ABS-CBN. (READ: House, DOJ could have done more for ABS-CBN – FLAG)

Filipinos online were quick to call out the administration’s double standards in implementing laws and policies during the coronavirus pandemic.

{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”tl” dir=”ltr”>&quot;Actually, walang nag-party. Mga well wishers ko iyon. &#39;Yung mga tauhan ko na dumalaw… siyempre tatanggapin ko &#39;yun. Naka-mask naman sila, naka gloves, tsaka nag social distancing.&quot; <br>–P/Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas<br>Chief, NCRPO<br><br>Law is law pero bakit ganito? <a href=”https://t.co/KhqitJKqNh”>pic.twitter.com/KhqitJKqNh</a></p>&mdash; sarawatlism (@ace_antipolo) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ace_antipolo/status/1260398303432208385?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 13, 2020</a></blockquote>

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{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Happy birthday to the NCRPO chief! You guys are role models indeed! Dura lex sed lexchon! Party! Party! <a href=”https://t.co/YJbejc8Rk4″>pic.twitter.com/YJbejc8Rk4</a></p>&mdash; The Professional Heckler (@hecklerforever8) <a href=”https://twitter.com/hecklerforever8/status/1260407212771549186?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 13, 2020</a></blockquote>

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{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”tl” dir=”ltr”>Sabi niyo &quot;dura lex sed lex&quot; di ba? Applicable ba yan dito sa pa-birthday party ni BGen. Sinas? <a href=”https://t.co/IEOiO62UZP”>pic.twitter.com/IEOiO62UZP</a></p>&mdash; Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite (@CongFerdieGaite) <a href=”https://twitter.com/CongFerdieGaite/status/1260170385850425345?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 12, 2020</a></blockquote>

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{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>HAPPY BDAY,  Maj. Gen. Sinas!<br><br>TNX for pushing thru w/ the party during a pandemic; for NOT manning ECQ Checkpoints; for posting pics of your food-filled party during a time when the poor have got no food on the table; &amp; for breaking the rules—w/c you&#39;re supposed to be enforcing. <a href=”https://t.co/bh7OqwgrM7″>https://t.co/bh7OqwgrM7</a></p>&mdash; Francis Baraan IV (@MrFrankBaraan) <a href=”https://twitter.com/MrFrankBaraan/status/1260414041517785088?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 13, 2020</a></blockquote>

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{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”tl” dir=”ltr”>Mars, HULI pero &#39;DI KULONG. Hindi sumunod sa &quot;no mass gatherings&quot;.  Dikit-dikit pa ata…halatang elbow to elbow. O alam na? Yung marami walang suot na face mask, pero may dalang pakimkim take home. <br><br>Violations? Walang ganun Mars!<br><br>&quot;Law is law &#39;diba&quot;? Amnesia mars? I kennat. <a href=”https://t.co/r7rqGuZ9CG”>pic.twitter.com/r7rqGuZ9CG</a></p>&mdash; Samira Gutoc (@GutocSamira) <a href=”https://twitter.com/GutocSamira/status/1260441477173456897?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 13, 2020</a></blockquote>

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{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”tl” dir=”ltr”>Pag kayo-kayo walang violation, pag-mahirap may violation… iba talaga ang tinitignan sa tinititigan… double standard! <a href=”https://t.co/dRPRAPOOEO”>https://t.co/dRPRAPOOEO</a></p>&mdash; Erin Tañada (@erintanada) <a href=”https://twitter.com/erintanada/status/1260403537571270662?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 13, 2020</a></blockquote>

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{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”tl” dir=”ltr”>IMPUNITY. What can I say. Walang pagbabago. Lumala pa nga. <a href=”https://t.co/vQm65Ia3i9″>https://t.co/vQm65Ia3i9</a></p>&mdash; Teddy Casiño (@teddycasino) <a href=”https://twitter.com/teddycasino/status/1260390011385442307?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 13, 2020</a></blockquote>

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Apart from the recent birthday party of NCRPO chief Sinas, netizens also recalled the murder of former military man Winston Ragos, who allegedly violated quarantine rules and was shot by a member of the Quezon City Police District.

Meanwhile, government officials who breached quarantine protocols such as Koko Pimentel and Mocha Uson got a slap on the wrist.

{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>This is the same PNP which murdered Winston Ragos in Quezon City. The same agency that has forced itself inside private premises without warrant for supposed ECQ violations.<br><br>Look at them—so happy and so unperturbed na nahiya ang corona virus!<br><br>Dura lex sed lex, my foot. <a href=”https://t.co/z9WdScQ33T”>pic.twitter.com/z9WdScQ33T</a></p>&mdash; EMIL (@13thFool) <a href=”https://twitter.com/13thFool/status/1260348026570211328?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 12, 2020</a></blockquote>

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{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”tl” dir=”ltr”>dura lex sed lex eh si koko pimentel nag-violate ng ECQ di naman kinasuhan, si mocha uson na ilang taon na nagpapakalat ng fake news di naman kinasuhan, yung mga pulis na pumatay kay winston ragos di naman kinasuhan, yung mga nangurakot ng pera nung SEA games di naman kinasuhan</p>&mdash; millennial of manila (@MillennialOfMNL) <a href=”https://twitter.com/MillennialOfMNL/status/1257716714105565186?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 5, 2020</a></blockquote>

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{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”tl” dir=”ltr”>Law is law raw oh!<br>Eh bakit pinatay ninyo si Kian Santos, Winston Ragos…? eh balita ko dapat kung pumalag, &quot;shoot to disable&quot; lang. asan ang law is law?</p>&mdash; GINOO (@GinoongKlent) <a href=”https://twitter.com/GinoongKlent/status/1257915317512073217?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 6, 2020</a></blockquote>

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{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”tl” dir=”ltr”>Sa mga nagsasabing LAW IS LAW! and “NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW” Lokohin nyo mga sarili nyo! <a href=”https://t.co/pu5NYOD8nP”>pic.twitter.com/pu5NYOD8nP</a></p>&mdash; Roque Rox Santos (@roxsantos) <a href=”https://twitter.com/roxsantos/status/1259006830543425536?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 9, 2020</a></blockquote>

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Netizens also slammed how the “law is law” argument did not hold water when it came to the reopening of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) during the lockdown. 

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chief Andrea Domingo stated POGOs earned significant revenue “without the risk of spreading COVID-19,” while Malacañang earlier asserted POGOs were “similar” to business process outsourcing companies.

{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>The shutdown of ABSCBN means billions of loss revenues for the government.<br><br>Revenue generation isn&#39;t that the reason why they let POGO resume operations?<br><br>Law is law bullshit!! This is nothing but a vendetta.</p>&mdash; Don RB (@donthebasher) <a href=”https://twitter.com/donthebasher/status/1257888604614914048?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 6, 2020</a></blockquote>

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{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”tl” dir=”ltr”>&quot;We need POGOs for revenue&quot; pero di naman pala nagbabayad ng tax. so revenue for whom? cos it&#39;s not the Filipino people  san ang dura lex sed lex ngayon? <a href=”https://t.co/iRxQenlh2t”>https://t.co/iRxQenlh2t</a></p>&mdash; Josh #MassTestingNowPH #NEVERAGAIN (@josh_danac) <a href=”https://twitter.com/josh_danac/status/1259336660715597824?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 10, 2020</a></blockquote>

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{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”tl” dir=”ltr”>Paki gamit dito yung “Law is law” at “No one is above the law” niyo <a href=”https://t.co/PcymeEX8Zu”>https://t.co/PcymeEX8Zu</a></p>&mdash; Bea  (@imbeatriz26) <a href=”https://twitter.com/imbeatriz26/status/1259357388626255872?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 10, 2020</a></blockquote>

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Filipinos also cited the recent arrest of the 25-year-old teacher who posted about a reward to anyone who “kills” President Duterte as an uneven implementation of the “law is law” argument. 

Some Twitter users shared screenshots of other people sending death threats to Vice President Leni Robredo and rape threats to her children, with these messages not acted upon by the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation.

{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>NBI, PNP, baka naman pwede niyo ring hulihin etong mga to. If you can arrest a person for offering a reward to someone who can kill the President, maybe you want to do the same to the many DDS who have been issuing VP Leni death threats. <a href=”https://t.co/7EgnpiHnyv”>https://t.co/7EgnpiHnyv</a> <a href=”https://t.co/1jVl8G5IGP”>pic.twitter.com/1jVl8G5IGP</a></p>&mdash; Ryan (@rryyyaaaannnn) <a href=”https://twitter.com/rryyyaaaannnn/status/1260076640320684035?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 12, 2020</a></blockquote>

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{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”tl” dir=”ltr”>Hi NBI! Hi <a href=”https://twitter.com/pnppio?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@pnppio</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/PNPChiefGamboa?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@PNPChiefGamboa</a>, exempted to sa “law is law”?? <br><br>Link: <a href=”https://t.co/Kr2rjVS8bx”>https://t.co/Kr2rjVS8bx</a> <a href=”https://t.co/zAxF1Dicnd”>pic.twitter.com/zAxF1Dicnd</a></p>&mdash; Raffee (@Whuafael) <a href=”https://twitter.com/Whuafael/status/1260078450586632192?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 12, 2020</a></blockquote>

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{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”tl” dir=”ltr”>Huwag maging bias NBI <br><br>Pakihuli rin ito <br><br>Law is Law di po na ? <a href=”https://t.co/fbVwOglMDO”>pic.twitter.com/fbVwOglMDO</a></p>&mdash; China Rich Girlfriend (@EggTarTisYummy) <a href=”https://twitter.com/EggTarTisYummy/status/1260141122271100929?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 12, 2020</a></blockquote>

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Other Filipinos even juxtaposed the teacher’s post with President Duterte’s many nonchalant statements about killing Filipinos, including unruly quarantine violators.

{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>If we punish this guy, how are we going to make our president responsible to all the death threats he has generously given? Law is law diba? <a href=”https://t.co/Ov1a6vni5M”>pic.twitter.com/Ov1a6vni5M</a></p>&mdash; Steph Lauren (@yellowscrubs) <a href=”https://twitter.com/yellowscrubs/status/1260385391380623363?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 13, 2020</a></blockquote>

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{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”tl” dir=”ltr”>These dds trolls and supporters claiming Teacher Ronnel&#39;s tweets are threats, Pero Yung actual orders to kill ng pangulo nila winawalang bahala</p>&mdash; Dead Balagtas (@Deadbalagtas) <a href=”https://twitter.com/Deadbalagtas/status/1260084279427477506?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 12, 2020</a></blockquote>

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{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>That’s beside the point. Sure, call them threats. But what’s fucked up is that this is EXACTLY what the president is doing as well. Why isn’t he getting the same exact treatment?? Dura lex sed lex diba?? WHY IS HE ABOVE THE LAW SUDDENLY</p>&mdash; Gigi on YouTube (@gigiesguerra) <a href=”https://twitter.com/gigiesguerra/status/1260093067920502784?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 12, 2020</a></blockquote>

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Here’s what other Filipinos had to say:

{source}<a class=”twitter-timeline” href=”https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom/timelines/1260422493258596353?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>Law is law? – Curated tweets by rapplerdotcom</a> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>{/source} 

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