Calls for accountability were recently renewed after Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the chief implementer of the National Task Force on COVID-19, said that the mañanita of Metro Manila police chief Major General Debold Sinas is already an “old issue” that should not be highlighted.
Galvez mentioned the remark in a “Laging Handa” press briefing on July 30 where he answered queries on how the Philippine National Police can enforce quarantine protocols when one of its officers has violated them during a period of strict lockdown.
“I believe it is already an old issue. It has been resolved by DILG and I will ask (DILG Secretary Eduardo) Gen. Año (about) it. I think there is already a resolution on that,” he said to reporters.
Galvez didn’t elaborate on the supposed resolution but appealed for the public to refrain from highlighting the controversial birthday “salubong” of Sinas.
“Sa nakikita po natin, huwag po nating masyadong i-highlight ‘yung isang tinatawag nating maybe unfortunate incident,” he said.
“So nakikiusap po kami na ‘yung ganitong mga klaseng issue, siyempre meron din tayong mga shortcomings, dapat ang ano po natin, maintindihan natin kasi ‘yung circumstances na po na ‘yun na nakuhanan ng picture ay hindi natin alam,” Galvez added.
His words were met with criticisms by Filipinos who commented that Sinas’ mañanita will never be forgotten unless he is held accountable for the violated protocols he and his officers were supposed to enforce in the first place.
“Resolved pero wala akong nakitang natanggal sa trabaho?” a Twitter user said in response to Galvez’s comment that the issue has already been “resolved” by the DILG.
“Galvez is part of the problem It will never be an ‘old’ issue until justice is served,” wrote another online user.
“This will never go old unless you give what is due to Sinas and company for what they violated. How do you expect us to follow the rules when the enforcers, themselves, are violating them?” another online user likewise questioned.
A Filipino online user said that the public will never forget Sinas’ mañanita since it was “definitely one of the highlights of the whole lockdown.”
“People were suffering, family members were dying but the (supposed) leaders were caught violating the protocols,” the Twitter user wrote.
Last May, Sinas and his subordinates held a birthday “salubong” when Metro Manila was still under the enhanced community quarantine in which mass gatherings were prohibited.
Pictures of the event were originally shared on the Facebook page of the National Capital Region Police Office but it was eventually deleted following backlash from Filipinos.
Screenshots of the post uploaded by some social media users went viral and were reported by different news outlets, including international news agencies.
The pictures showed attendees standing close to each other, crowding at a buffet table and eating meals without being physically distant for at least one meter to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
The incident made it to global headlines but that didn’t stop Sinas from continuously pursuing his duties as Metro Manila’s top cop, especially after President Rodrigo Duterte had expressed his disagreement over firing him.
Performance activist Juana Change impersonated Sinas when she attended the “Grand Mañanita” protest rally for the anti-terror law in UP Diliman on Independence Day.
Last week, PNP chief General Archie Gamboa likewise said that the mañanita is already a “closed issue.”
Actress and musician Saab Magalona then disagreed and urged the public to express their disapproval by resharing one of her Twitter posts.
‼️RETWEET IF IT'S STILL AN ISSUE‼️ https://t.co/iTa6P0uRwH
— Saab (@saabmagalona) July 30, 2020
Her tweet has since gained 43,500 retweets and 26,300 likes on the microblogging platform.
ABS-CBN News reported that according to the PNP, it has already filed administrative charges such as “Less Grave Neglect of Duty and Less Grave Misconduct” to Sinas and 18 other law enforcers for the violation of quarantine protocols.