NATIONAL Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director Major General Debold Sinas is in deep trouble after he allowed the holding of an alleged "Mañanita" surprise cum birthday party that was organized for him by his officers and subordinates last May 8.
Particularly unhappy ---albeit still super calm--- about the incident are Secretary Eduardo Año of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Archie Gamboa, who both expressed disappointment that the party had to take place while the country reels from the ill effects of the pandemic.
Making matters worse was the fact that, at least based on pictures that came out, the said affair was marred by violation of various basic protocols which the PNP itself is supposedly the chief implementor. These violations are the main focus of an investigation now being conducted by the Internal Affairs Service (IAS). I was told that in the police service, the "Mañanita" is part of tradition wherein junior officers fete their seniors with a surprise party. If such were held during ‘normal times,’ there would have been no issue. However, the country is undergoing a crisis and is under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Firstly, holding a party with overflowing food shows insensitivity and callousness on the part of the policemen concerned, to include Sinas himself and those who threw the party for him, considering that a huge part of our population are virtually going hungry and penniless.
I myself cannot in conscience post pictures of the various kinds of food I fortunately continue to enjoy, knowing that a lot of Filipinos have nothing to eat and have no money to buy decent food. And I’m just an ordinary citizen. More, of course, is expected from public officials.
Sec. Ano used the term ‘delicadeza’ in saying that Sinas could have ordered a stop to the party if he wanted to. PNP chief Gamboa is leaving it all up to the IAS.
I give it to Sinas. It’s his birthday and he wanted to celebrate. However, the position he holds and the bad situation the country is in right now should have made him feel awkward, at the very least, considering that it was a mass gathering, which is banned under the rules set forth by no less than the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and announced by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.
Then, there was this photo which showed Sinas seated in a round table in what appeared to be a chit-chat, apparently with those closest to him. None of those in that table was wearing a face mask, Sinas included. Again, this is a violation of a protocol, a very basic one at that.
Needless to say, the rule on ‘social distancing’ was also not observed again, as photos of the said event showed. Were there also intoxicating drinks? This is also a possibility.
Sinas apologized and claimed that no protocols were violated as those who were present were just a handful whom he said observed social distancing, adding that he gave them packed meals only. He also claimed that he distributed the ‘lechon’ that was given to him as a gift as food packs to the members of the regional mobile force battalion (RMFB) stationed in every district so that they won’t have to visit him in his quarters. Too, Sinas said some of the photos that were circulated on social media were actually either grabbed from old posts or edited.
My two cents’ worth, Sinas should have foregone said party and if he would claim that it was a ‘surprise,’ he could have stopped it right there and then if he wanted to. How could he not feel uncomfortable or know deep inside that there was something wrong somewhere?
As it is, the PNP is having a difficult time implementing rules relative to COVID-19. How do you expect the ordinary citizens to follow when the enforcers themselves are the violators? This is where the age-old adage ‘practice what you preach’ comes in.
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