Duterte: ‘Honest’ Sinas stays as Metro Manila's top cop despite controversial birthday party
(Philstar.com) - May 20, 2020 - 8:16am

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said Police Major General Debold Sinas will stay in his position as Metro Manila’s top cop despite allegations that the police official violated quarantine protocols during his birthday celebration.

Sinas drew fierce criticisms after photos posted by the National Capital Region Police Office last week showed the general blowing his cake and socializing with cops lining up for the buffet table, without wearing face masks and practicing physical distancing during the coronavirus lockdown.

But in a public address Tuesday evening, the chief executive defended Sinas, calling him a “good officer” and an “honest one.”

“Hindi niya kasalanan kung may magharana sa kanya sa birthday niya. At kung ‘yun namang sabi na nakikita hindi naka-mask, eh siyempre may mga meryenda ‘yan, may pagkain. Alangan namang kainin nila pati ‘yung mask. Di tatanggalin talaga nila,” Duterte said.

(It’s not his fault that he got serenaded during his birthday. And those who say they didn’t wear masks, well of course, it was merienda, there was food. They would remove the masks to eat.)

He said he was sure Sinas would not have allowed the gathering had he known his subordinates were planning a mañanita for him.

Duterte also said he studied the “merits and demerits” of Sinas’ case but decided he needed the general in his post.

“They are all competent. But you know seniority. It is his time to be there and I do not believe in just firing him because people sang him a birthday song,” the president said.

“Sabi mo, “the law is the law”. Well, akin na iyon (Well, that’s up to me). It’s my responsibility. But I will not order his transfer. He stays there until further orders,” he added.

Police General Archie Gamboa, PNP chief, on Monday said Sinas will retain his position.

“I hope the public would understand that since we're here in an emergency situation, if you try to replace him, we will never know. He's incredibly difficult to replace because he's behind many programs in relation to COVID,” he said in Filipino in an interview on dzMM Teleradyo.

Sinas and 18 other cops are facing criminal charges filed by the PNP for violating quarantine rules during a coronavirus lockdown. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 30, 2020 - 11:43am

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the bill that grants him special powers to address the novel coronavirus outbreak in the Philippines. Bookmark this page for updates. 

April 30, 2020 - 11:43am

The Government Service Insurance System is set to release P12.9 million in life insurance benefits to the families or beneficiaries of the eight government health workers who succumbed to COVID-19. This was announced today by Rolando Ledesma Macasaet, President and General Manager of the state pension fund.

“Our insurance officers are already coordinating with the bereaved families. Once the papers are duly processed, we will release the amounts without delay,” says Rolando Ledesma Macasaet, GSIS president and general manager.  

“And as promised, we will be granting an additional P500,000 under our Bayanihan Fund for Frontliners (BFF) on top of their regular insurance benefits in recognition of their heroism and selfless dedication to public service,” he adds.

April 29, 2020 - 12:45pm

The Department of Social Welfare and Development should include senior citizens in its social amelioration program, even those already receiving pensions, Sen. Risa Hontiveros says.

She has filed a resolution that, if adopted, will be the opinion of the Senate.

"An overwhelming majority of our senior citizens are poor. The quarantine exposes and magnifies their physical and financial vulnerabilities," Hontiveros says as she filed the resolution, which urges expansion of subsidies to senior citizens "who live with their spouses, the unaccompanied, and the homeless."

She notes that 68% of COVID-19 fatalities are elderly.

"A massive number of senior citizens who were left out of the initial DSWD memorandum only receives P5,000 or less a month under SSS and GSIS pension programs and only as mere supplement to their informal income," she also says.

She says that "the exclusion of pensioned senior citizens ignores the fact that many of them who still work in the informal economy face even graver difficulties because they are deprived of livelihood amid this crisis."

April 27, 2020 - 10:06am

Acknowledging the need for an extended enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in areas with high cases of COVID-19, Vice President Leni Robredo says the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to do so was a "tough balancing act."

"Mahirap, pero kailangan. Mabuti the president made the difficult decision," Robredo says in an interview with CNN Philippines' "The Source" Monday morning.

The vice president, however, points out that the ECQ is not a cure to the deadly virus but gives the country time to prepare.

April 26, 2020 - 6:55pm

Sen. Nancy Binay cautions the labor department over its move to have an OFW in Taiwan deported over social media posts critical of President Rodrigo Duterte.

"Paalala lang po sa mga labor attaches na kayo ang kanlungan at sandigan ng ating mga OFW," she says on her Twitter account.

(Just a reminder to our labor attaches that you are the shelter and support of our OFWs)

 She adds: "Wag maging Bagong Makapili sa harap ng mga bagong bayani."

(Don't be collaborators against our 'modern heroes')

RELATED: DOLE hit for policing Taiwan OFW's Facebook posts

April 24, 2020 - 8:46am
The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging and Infectious Diseases recommended that some areas in medium risk be under a general community quarantine subject to further review.

These are:

  • Abra
  • Ilocos Norte
  • La Union
  • Cagayan
  • Isabela
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Marinduque
  • Camarines Sur
  • Aklan
  • Capiz
  • Samar
  • Western Samar
  • Zamboanga Del Sur
  • Lanao Del Norte
  • Misamis Occidental
  • Misamis Oriental
  • North Cotabato
  • South Cotabato
  • Maguindanao

A general community quarantine is a less stringent form of the lockdown currently imposed on Metro Manila. Details are available in our live blog.

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