Credibility concerns as Sinas warns arrest of partygoers during Christmas season

December 15, 2020 - 6:08 PM
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Debold Sinas speaks to the publicjpg
PNP Chief Gen. Debold Sinas speaking to the public in this undated photo. (Photo from Philippine News Agency)

Some Filipinos are questioning the credibility of Police General Debold Sinas, the chief of the Philippine National Police, after he warned the public of arresting partygoers this Christmas season amid a prevailing coronavirus pandemic.

The new head of the police force on Monday said that people who attend such parties will be immediately arrested in light of the directive of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IAT-EID) against social gatherings.

“Parties have been prohibited so, of course, we will have [partygoers] arrested,” a local report quoted Sinas as saying.

“We issued the directive based on the IATF that no parties should be there but ‘di naman pinagbabawalan ‘yung dinner. Ang dinner is party din eh, but you have to observe ‘yung required naman,” he was also quoted as saying in another report.

Sinas said that dinner parties are allowed, as long as they follow the guidelines of IATF in terms of the maximum number of people allowed and if the attendees observe health protocols such as physical distancing.

The Department of Health is encouraging the public to hold virtual parties this Holiday season.

Should physical gatherings take place, they must be subjected to the guidelines released by the agency through DOH Circular No. 2020-0355 which notes that face-to-face activities may only be held for up to 15 minutes, along with other safety protocols.

Meanwhile, Sinas’ remarks only left some Filipinos doubting its credibility as they recall how he participated in a social gathering during the enhanced community quarantine, the strictest form of lockdown, as a law enforcer.

“The PNP should consider having a different spokesperson on matters involving (the) violation of quarantine rules if it wants the public to take them more seriously,” a Twitter user noted in response to reports quoting the former Metro Manila police chief.

“He created a ruckus by having his birthday celebrated during lockdown with no social distancing among his guests or whatsoever and now he’s going to call people out? Wanna have some cake to go with that gibberish ordinance?” another online user commented with an eyeroll GIF.

“Pag si Sinas nagsalita, wala na credibility kasi,” a different Filipino said with a sad emoji.

“Said by the party boy himself,” commented another Twitter user with a grinning emoji.

Last October, the same treatment happened when Interior Secretary Eduardo Año announced that Christmas parties in Metro Manila and in other areas under the general community quarantine will be prohibited.

Some Filipinos doubted how they would enforce the guidelines, given that law enforcers under his department were unable to uphold certain protocols at the height of the strict lockdown.

The party 

Sinas in May was involved in a social gathering where his subordinates threw a mañanita or a birthday “salubong” for him amid ECQ, where such activities are prohibited.

Physical distancing measures were not observed by the law enforcers as well, based on the pictures that were initially released by his now-former office.

The incident gained global attention but it did not deter Sinas from being appointed as the head of the national police force.

Commenting on the appointment of Sinas as the new top cop, Rep. Ruffy Biazon (Muntinlupa) earlier said that he has worked with the police officer who he described as “compliant” and “proficient.”

“He was proactive in ensuring that the NCRPO (National Capital Region Police Office) was not only compliant, but proficient. He had good rapport with the stakeholders as shown by the cooperation of the business community in the reform initiatives undertaken under the PGS (Performance Governance System),” the lawmaker said last month.

“But with the mañanita issue, he would just have to show that he has learned a lesson from the lapse by giving an excellent performance as (chief, PNP),” Biazon added.