LOOK: Activist Mae Paner dresses up as Sinas for 'Grand Mañanita' protest

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 12) — As protesters gather for Independence Day rallies on Friday, a familiar personality showed up in the mass action dubbed as "Grand Mañanita."

Artist and activist Mae Paner, also known as Juana Change, channeled embattled Metro Manila Police Chief Debold Sinas — complete with a shaved head and a bunch of long-stemmed roses.

Groups have labeled the protest action in University of the Philippines Diliman’s University Avenue not as a rally, but as a "Grand Mañanita," derived from Sinas' controversial birthday feast.

"I come as our NCRPO chief and show that people are here to tell him and the rest of the people who defy rules that you cannot make people follow you if you yourself are not following what the IATF has been making people do," Paner said. 

Mass gatherings are still prohibited due to strict stay-at-home rules amid the community quarantine. But protesters are drawing inspiration from the birthday celebration held by Sinas and his men in May despite strict lockdown measures in Metro Manila.

Several groups have been arrested for holding mass protests — even while observing social distancing and wearing face masks — while Sinas remains in office.

Related: PNP chief defends NCRPO head Sinas on birthday celebration

Police have installed checkpoints outside UP hours before the start of the event.

The protests will focus on the government's move to urgently pass the controversial Ant-Terrorism Bill amid the COVID-19 crisis.