DOJ will complete probe of Sinas: Guevarra

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    JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday said President Duterte’s backing of new PNP chief Debold Sinas will not stop the DOJ from completing the preliminary investigation of his “mananita” case for violation of quarantine protocols last May.

    Duterte over the weekend said he will pardon Sinas if he is found at fault for the controversy. Duterte said it was not Sinas’ fault that he attended the “mananita” or birthday serenade for his 55th birthday at the NCRPO headquarters in Taguig City as he had no clue about it.

    “The DOJ/prosecutor has to complete the process of preliminary investigation. Executive clemency may come only after a finding of guilt. If there’s no finding of guilt, there’s no room for the application of executive clemency,” Guevarra said.

    He added that Duterte know the process well, adding his pronouncement is merely an indication of his intent.

    “I think you should emphasize this. The President is very much aware that a case is still pending and he is merely indicating his intent to act with liberality, in consideration of Gen. Sinas’ overall performance as a career police officer,” Guevarra said.

    Criminal and administrative complaints against Sinas and 18 other police officers have been filed before the Taguig City prosecutors office.

    The complaints charged Sinas of violating City Ordinance No.12 calling for the mandatory wearing of face masks in public and physical distancing as well as of Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

    The penalty for violation of City Ordinance No.12 is three hours of community service while for RA 11332, the court may impose a fine of not less than P20,000 but not more than P50,000 or imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months, or both.

    Sinas had apologized for the fiasco but insisted that he and other police officers present in the event adhered to health and safety protocols imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.