Año says celebration of Sinas ''uncalled for'', PNP to investigate
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Wednesday said though it’s a mañanita, the celebration of National Capital Region Police chief Major General Debold Sinas’ birthday is “uncalled for'' especially that the country is facing a pandemic.
In a virtual presser in Malacañang, Año said Sinas with his men did not deliberately party but what they did is a mañanita or early morning serenade which is a tradition among soldier and cops since their Philippine Military Academy (PMA) days.
“It's not a party but during this time that is uncalled for. As I said, we have delicadeza and this kind of activity should be stopped for now,” he said.
“Now I leave it to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to conduct an investigation if they committed any violation of quarantine guidelines… we will see what is the appropriate sanction based on the result of the investigation,” he added.
In a separate statement, PNP chief Police General Archie Francisco Gamboa said he directed the Inspector General of the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) to investigate.
In his virtual presser last Wednesday, Gamboa defended Sinas, saying he did not violate any quarantine protocols.
“The move was prompted by media reports that protocols on physical distancing and mass gathering of persons were allegedly overlooked during a recent gathering at the NCRPO,” Gamboa said.
“The Inspector General of the Internal Affairs Service was instructed to send an investigation team to NCRPO to initiate a formal inquiry into the incident,” he added.
To prevent this kind of incident again, Año said he directed all bureaus and offices under DILG to prevent gatherings and organized dinners at this time.
In a radio interview, Año said even if Sinas did not have knowledge on the event, he should stop it “right there and then”.
“That is a big no-no while we are under ECQ, we have (a) crisis…. Maybe it’s a surprise from his subordinates but right there and then he should order for it to be stopped,” he said.
Sinas said while he was ''overjoyed'' as a birthday celebrant, he maintained this was done with '' all cautiousness''.
“Overjoyed as a birthday celebrant, I was caught up with a traditional mañanita spontaneously conducted by some of my officers and men in their own volition. In all actuality, my accommodation to them was done with all cautiousness because I am fully aware of the Anti- COVID19 measures being implemented by the government,” he said.
The NCRPO chief said all those who are present on the event were told to observe social distancing and other precautionary health measures.
“They were also told not to linger and prepare for the simultaneous relief distribution NCR-wide that day,” he added.
However, Sinas said some pictures circulating online were “edited and grabbed from old posts”.
The event was posted on the official Facebook page of NCRPO.
“The pictures may depict itself however it does not define the totality of what really had happened,” Sinas said.
“Nevertheless, I apologize for what transpired during my birthday that caused anxiety to the public. It was never my intention to disobey any existing protocols relative to the implementation of Enhanced Community Quarantine,” he added.
According to NCRPO Public Information Office, one of the photos circulating online where cans of beer were seen under the table came from their December event as all NCRPO officers are now bald as part of their support to COVID-19 response.
Gamboa reminded his men the PNP is not exempt from strict rules on mass gathering.
“I am directing all unit commanders to prohibit any and all social gatherings,” he said.
He strongly reiterated strict observance of all public health protocols and biosafety standards by all personnel at all times. Ella Dionisio/ DMS
House approves bill on second reading giving ABS-CBN provisional franchise until Oct. 31, 2020
The House of Representatives approved a bill on Wednesday granting ABS-CBN a provisional franchise on second reading.
House Bill 6732 allows the broadcast giant until October 31. It was earlier approved by the Committee of the Whole after Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano spoke on the measure.
The approval was through voice vote and session was adjourned until May 18, 3 pm, the House of Representatives Twitter account said.
"Today, we will begin the process of turning on your transmitter by giving you a franchise until October 31, 2020 and we will have the hearing. We will finish this and we will let people judge if you should be given a franchise,'' said Cayetano.
The House Twitter account cited Camarines Sur Rep. LR Villafuerte, who sponsored at the bill at the plenary, as saying key questions must be answered in the hearing.
''These are the things we need to address in the hearing. Did ABS-CBN violate the Constitution, particularly on foreign ownership? Did ABS-CBN violate election laws by being biased,favoring another or a few candidates? Did ABS-CBN violate labor laws?'', said Villafuerte.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered ABS-CBN to shut down last week after its 25-year congressional franchise expired on May 4.
Though its free TV channel and radio stations, led by dzMM, were shuttered, ABS-CBN's News Channel and dzMM Teleradyo continued its programs through cable TV. DMS