Duterte keeps confidence in Sinas amid birthday party flak

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 20) – President Rodrigo Duterte assured PMGen. Debold Sinas that he will keep his post as the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief despite criticisms from his mañanita birthday celebration which allegedly violated quarantine measures.

Ako yung ayaw na malipat siya. He is a good officer. He is an honest one. Hindi niya kasalanan kung may mang-harana sa kanya sa birthday niya,” said Duterte in his weekly public address aired early Wednesday morning.

[Translation: I am the one who don’t want him to be transferred. He is a good officer. He is an honest one. It is not his fault if they serenaded him during his birthday.]

Duterte said he needs police officers like Sinas to help him enforce the law in Metro Manila, especially now the region is under the modified enhanced community quarantine.

“It is his time to be there and I do not believe in just firing him because he was serenaded with Happy Birthday,” added the President.

The Philippine National Police Internal Affairs Service filed criminal charges before the Taguig City Prosecutor's Office against Sinas and 18 of his colleagues last May 15.

The police officers implicated in the case surprised Sinas with a "mañanita" feast on May 8 to honor him on his special day.

Among those tagged in the complaint filed by the PNP-IAS include Deputy Regional Director for Administration Nicolas Bathan, Deputy Regional Director for Operations Florendo Quibuyen, Chief Regional Staff Florencio Ortilla, Regional Internal Affairs Service NCR director Gerry Galvan, PNP Human Rights Affairs Office chief Ildelbrandy Usana, Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division chief Eliseo Tanding, and Regional Intelligence Division chief Remus Medina.

Sinas has apologized for the incident but claimed he found "nothing wrong" with the gathering, noting proper social distancing and health measures were followed by the guests.

But photos of Sinas’ "mañanita" feast, originally posted on the NCRPO’s official Facebook page, showed a group of police officers in casual attire huddled around tables, giving roses to the PNP official, and having him blow candles on birthday cakes for the occasion.

The photos went viral, causing the celebration to receive flak from netizens.

PNP Chief PGen. Archie Gamboa said the national police force will not comment further on the issue as they will await the court’s verdict on the case involving Sinas and his NCRPO officers.