One special cop in our midst

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    MAJOR General Debold Sinas is a very special policeman, at least in the mind of President Duterte, or whoever is influencing the President when he takes his various decisions favoring Sinas in the wake of issues and controversies in the Philippine National Police (PNP), which directly involved the guy.

    You see, Sinas, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Hinirang Class of 1987, has just been appointed chief of the PNP, replacing Gen. Camilo Cascolan who is retiring today, Nov. 10, his birthday.

    First, some backgrounder on General Sinas. He served as director of the Police Regional Office 7 in Central Visayas prior to his appointment as Metro Manila’s regional police head.

    During the Traslacion of the Black Nazareno last January, following his orders, his men confiscated the cellphone of a TV reporter covering the procession in Quiapo. This occurred after he had an argument with reporters about their media office at the NCRPO office.

    ‘He might have a hard time doing his job, if only because people will always remember the mañanita… the infraction of the law during the height of ECQ that was treated with impunity and favoritism by the nation’s highest officials.’

    We previously wrote in Malaya this info: “Sinas was also the guy who received two promotions in just one day from his superiors at the PNP, ending with his post as chief of the NCRPO. He also showed that he can out-Palparan General Jovito Palparan by dispersing a group of Marikina City residents who were distributing food and other relief goods to the poor of the city (during the ECQ). The Marikina activists were assisted by their mayor, Mayor Marcy Teodoro, who defended them by saying that they were doing a legitimate activity, but the residents still had to stay overnight or so under police detention, and had to post bail.”

    But the popularity/notoriety of Sinas came to a head when he hosted the now-classic Mañanita early-dawn party in his quarters inside the camp. Internet photos of his birthday gathering showed a number of police officers defying health protocols amid the coronavirus disease pandemic, not wearing face masks, not observing social distancing and holding a party when even private gatherings were banned by the government. The incident resulted in the PNP filing criminal and administrative complaints against Sinas and 18 other police officers. Now that we are reminded, it should be timely to ask whatever happened to these complaints.

    President Duterte and the PNP said then that Sinas cannot be punished or relieved because he was very important — irreplaceable even — in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

    It boggles the mind to find a reason why this is so, when the pandemic is essentially a public health problem and not a security problem. But Duterte is obstinate in having Sinas stay in his post, and probably his cabal of other police officers who violated the law during that birthday party will even be rewarded instead of sanctioned or jailed.

    So now, General Sinas is our Top Cop, the chief of the Philippine National Police, and in charge of seeing to it that all national laws and even local ordinances are followed.

    He might have a hard time doing his job, if only because people will always remember the mañanita… the infraction of the law during the height of ECQ that was treated with impunity and favoritism by the nation’s highest officials.