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Sinas meets the press, asks for fair reporting

PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Debold M. Sinas yesterday held a dialog with members of the PNP Press Corps, vowed not to meddle with their jobs and asked for fair reporting.

It was the 1st time in the PNP’s 29-year history that a sitting PNP chief held a formal dialog with members of the Camp Crame press and discussed all matters and concern.

Prior to the meeting, PNP spokesman, Brigadier Gen. Ildebrandi N. Usana also asked members of the PNP Press Corps to undergo a swab test as requested by the PNP chief before being allowed to attend the dialog.

Usana said they held the dialog with the PNP Press Corps to further strengthen their partnership with the journalists covering Camp Crame affairs, with the hope that they will deliver balanced and fair reporting about the police force.

It was also Sinas’ first press conference with the press since he was designated as the 25th PNP chief by President Rodrigo Duterte last November 10. He asked for indulgence from the media saying his very tight schedule triggered by the two powerful typhoons that hit the country this month did not give him enough time for having a talk with the media.

The PNP chief agreed to hold a regular Monday morning press conference with the limited number of attendees due to the pandemic. He also said that he is okay with one-on-one interviews and would allow the press to interview members of his Command Group and other police commands as long as all safety protocols are being observed.

Please don’t set up our men

The PNP chief said he doesn’t’ want to meddle with the way the press makes its report on the police force but appealed for fairness. “Wag ninyo naman pong iset-up ang ating mga pulis lalo na yung mga nasa kalsada, yung ating mga patrolman. Kasi kung pangit ang lalabas sa kanila, minsan hindi nakaproper uniform, ang mga pulis naman ang mamalasin. Sila ang page-explainin namin,” he said.

He also said he is not in favor of so-called ‘ambush interviews’ particularly when it comes to journalists asking questions while he is walking while on patrol. “Ayoko lang yung naglalakad ako eh me humihingi ng comment na. OK lang ang text pero don’t expect na masagot agad due to my busy sked,” he added.

Sinas said he is also willing to provide free drug tests to members of the corps whom he considers as their partners.

At the same time, he asked Brig. Gen. Usana to take care of the other matters and concerns raised by the corps including parking of media vehicles and clearances before being allowed to enter the PNP national headquarters. However, all members of the press doing their job inside Camp Crame must observe health protocols like wearing of face masks and face shields and following social distancing.

Just do your work

Sinas appealed to the corps to do their jobs without sacrificing the image of the police. “First, that’s your work, kung anong gusto nyo trabaho niyo yan. Wag niyo lang i-confuse ang mga pulis kasi pag mali ang statement niya, siya ang mamalasin. Request lang namin, yung facts lang at hindi sanay ang ating mga patrolmen sa interviews,” he said.

The 25th PNP chief has his share of criticisms from the press and said that ‘life is always unfair’ amid a journalist’s comment that they have been fair to him.

He also said that he is open with media exposes about corruption. “I’m fine with the exposes, just be careful with the facts. Kasi pag mali, buhay ng pulis tatamaan, lalo na sa corruption. Magtatanong din kami. Am fine with that, I will not take it against you, it’s part of your job, just be careful kasi pag expose, pag hindi naverify, buhay din ng pulis yun , me pamilya din sila, alam din ng pulis, non-negotiable sa amin ang corruption,” he explained.

The PNP chief also said that as soon as they have enough evidence to warrant the filing of criminal and administrative charges in court against erring policemen, they won’t hesitate to reveal their identities to the public thru the press corps. This is part of their transparency program, he said.

Sinas added that henceforth, they won’t cover the faces of drug suspects being presented to the public to let the citizenry know they are into illegal drug activities.

Lastly, he said those who are making unsavory reports about him must not expect to get the comments and reactions they need from him. “Just don’t expect us to react all the time. Pag wala ka namang magandang news sa akin, tapos kukuhanan mo pa ko ng statement, kalabisan na yan,” he said.

PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group director, Brig. Gen. Jonnel C. Estomo during the same dialog said that members of the corps were instrumental in their success to curb down kidnapping-for-ransom cases in the country.

“It’s either na tumatago na sila o tumigil ang mga kidnappers pag nalabas sa media ang story nila. So far me mga 23 encounters kami at pag nakikita sa diyaryo, sa TV, talagang natatakot ang mga kidnappers. In fact, best practice namin yan,” he said.