CEBU, Philippines – Debold Sinas, the former chief of the Philippine National Police, was named adviser of the city’s Peace and Order Council (CPOC), Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama announced on Monday, July 4.
“He will continue to be of service because he loves Cebu. He loves Cebu City,” Rama said in a speech during the city’s morning flag ceremony.
In 2019, the late Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella formed and headed the Cebu City Peace and Order Council (CPOC). Cebu City Councilor Philip Zafra succeeded him as head of the council after Labella died in November 2021.
Zafra will still head the council, while Sinas will serve as an adviser.
Rama said that he also approached other personalities like Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma to be a part of the advisory board of the CPOC. (READ: Sinas’ sins in Central Visayas: Killings rampant, investigations incomplete)
“[Sinas and I] just had a talk this morning and our discussion was regarding already giving him the go-signal to working with all these personalities,” he said
Why does it matter?
While Sinas vowed to help Rama create a “Singapore-like” Cebu City, his term as Central Visayas police chief was marked by frequent unsolved killings, according to the Commission on Human Rights Central Visayas.
Based on Rappler’s own count following its own reporting and other cases documented in local media, there were at least 320 killings in Cebu recorded between July 2018 and October 2019.
At least 200 were vigilante-style killings.
Sinas’ controversies did not end in Central Visayas as he later gained the moniker “Mañanita cop” after holding a birthday party during the early COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 when he was PNP chief.
While he released a statement apologizing for the party, Sinas was never sanctioned for it.
Speaking on Sinas’ controversial track record, Rama told Rappler in a phone interview that Sinas will be an essential part of the city’s peace and order and to let his “output” speak for itself.
“We are looking at his output. Let the outputs speak for themselves,” he said.
What is the CPOC?
As the new adviser of CPOC, Sinas will not just be working with the city’s police but also with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and other peacekeeping groups.
Task Force Kasaligan, a civilian law enforcement unit, will be under Sinas’ direct supervision.
The task force was created during Labella’s term to help police enforce pandemic restrictions in the queen city.
The task force’s mandate was supposed to expire on June 30, but the new Rama administration decided to extend it.
Sinas will also be able to recommend security policies during major political and non-political gatherings and social events like Sinulog.
“My fellow policemen and I, we will pledge our support to the mayor for the peace and order,” Sinas said in a mix of Cebuano and English. – Rappler.com
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