THE big, bold controversial police general has proven to be too valuable for the President. In fact, President Rodrigo Duterte hinted on pardoning newly-appointed Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Debold Sinas over the mañanita controversy.
“It was only a small thing,” said Duterte.
In a video clip released by Malacañang to reporters, the president said that he was taking full responsibility for naming Sinas as the new PNP chief despite allegations that Sinas violated the ban on mass gatherings and the social distancing rules for holding a mañanita on his birthday in May.
“Alam mo kasi ‘yang mañanita, it’s a religious, almost a religious ritual. Nakaugalian na talaga ng mga Pilipino. Hindi kasalanan ng pobreng Sinas na ‘yan na pumunta sila doon, hindi naman niya alam,” Duterte said.
“At kung may kasalanan siya doon, pardon na siya. Wala akong nakitang kasalanan na masama na may moral implications, may kasamang malisya, wala,” he added.
Interestingly, Malacanang has issued an earlier statement that hinted Sinas appointment “will not absolve him of liability for the mañanita mess.”
Sinas is facing criminal charges over the gathering that he claimed as mañanita organized by his subordinates in time for his birthday last May inside the National Capital Regional Police Office at the Camp Bagiong Diwa in Taguig City.
The mañanita controversy didn’t compel the president to remove the official from his post despite the controversy.
“Hindi naman kailangan mag labas siya doon ng mga mask. It happened. Well, it was bad na ‘yung mga pumunta doon hindi nila inisip. But dahil naman sumusunod lang sila sa almost religious practice of mañanita,” Duterte said.
“We sing a person a happy birthday ang wishing para naman i-endear ng tao sa trabaho niya at sa buhay niya. Maliit na bagay ‘yun,” he added.
Immediately after his appointment as the country’s top cop, Sinas urged the public to move on from the issue, saying that the decision on the criminal complaints filed against him is already in the hands of the Taguig City Prosecutor’s Office.