After apology, Sinas says ‘nothing wrong’ with birthday party

Rambo Talabong
After apology, Sinas says ‘nothing wrong’ with birthday party
'It would be ungentlemanly kung 'di ko sila hinarap at pinauwi ko sila,' says Metro Manila police chief Major General Debold Sinas

MANILA, Philippines – After he apologized for allowing and enjoying a surprise birthday party for him, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Major General Debold Sinas insisted that he found “nothing wrong” with the celebration.

Wala pong mali doon…It would be ungentlemanly kung ‘di ko sila hinarap at pinauwi ko sila (There was nothing wrong there…It would be ungentlemanly if I did not face them and if I told them to go home),” Sinas said in an interview with CNN Philippines on Thursday, May 14.

Sinas was surprised with a birthday party when he turned 55 on Friday, May 8. Photos of the celebration posted on the same day by the NCRPO’s Public Information Office showed Sinas and dozens of cops violating the government’s ban on mass gatherings and physical distancing.

Still, he insisted that they “observed protocols.”

RULES BROKEN. Sinas blows a birthday candle during his surprise birthday celebration on May 8. NCRPO photo

After news outlets published the photos, Sinas and NCRPO cops received a lot of flak and were bombarded with accusations of having double standards as police have been arresting quarantine violators by the thousands. As of Monday, May 11, cops across the Philippines have arrested 48,132 lockdown rulebreakers.

The NCRPO chief’s statement goes against the statement of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año who said the gathering in itself was “a big no-no,” and that Sinas should have stopped the party as soon as he saw it.

“This is what we call delicadeza (sense of propriety),” Año earlier said in a DZMM radio interview.

On the issue of removing this reporter from the NCRPO’s official Viber group after Rappler broke the story with the party’s photos, Sinas said he did not order the removal and would refer the matter to his public information officer who did the group chat eviction, Major Britz Estadilla.

Sinas and his subordinates are currently facing a probe by the police Internal Affairs Service, which, depending on the outcome of the investigation, could recommend administrative penalties ranging from suspension to salary deduction to dismissal from the police service. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.