Amid coronavirus pandemic, newly-minted police chiefs bare focus on illegal drugs

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Amid coronavirus pandemic, newly-minted police chiefs bare focus on illegal drugs
Photo shows newly-minted PNP chief, Police Gen. Debold Sinas, speaking at the PNP's change of command ceremony on the night of Monday, November 10.
Release / PNP PIO

MANILA, Philippines — The chiefs of the national police and Metro Manila's police district formally took up their posts on Wednesday, their first days on the job, and expressed their focus on illegal drugs for their terms. 

Speaking in an interview aired over CNN Philippines late Tuesday night, Police Gen. Debold Sinas, the newly-appointed chief of the Philippine National Police, urged the public once more to "move on" from the many issues raised against him in the past. 

Sinas' appointment by President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday drew outrage from lawmakers, rights monitors and peasant groups and raised concerns over impunity and possible suppression of dissent. 

"I'm doing my job as a policeman...if you've done something wrong, you've done something wrong. I have presented my accomplishments to the PNP, to the people, to the president. I won't seek an extension or anything, my programs are really anchored for six months," he said. 

In his assumption remarks earlier Monday evening, Sinas also added that his priority program would be to lead the PNP in the national campaign to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and "the national crusade against crime, illegal drugs, corruption, and terrorism."

READ: Sinas told to step up war vs drugs, Reds

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año earlier said that this agenda was set by no less than Duterte himself.

Sinas assured PNP units of "optimized utilization of resources by downloading funds to the lowest police units as a key feature of a fiscal reform program that he vowed to put into action along with the 85% patrol and 15% administrative deployment scheme of personnel to maximize police visibility as a deterrent to crime."

To put emphasis to discipline in all PNP camps and stations, Sinas reiterated the agency's command policy prohibiting cops from going golfing and gambling during working hours. A system of “reward and punishment” will be the guiding standard for discipline in the organization

'Tuldukin na natin 'yung issue'

Over the past eight months of the coronavirus-induced community quarantines, the newest PNP chief made headlines twice for controversial incidents: first for violating quarantine protocols at a birthday party during the enhanced community quarantine, and later, for an eviction attempt on a family in Taguig. 

Though he faces two complaints filed against him, he has not received any formal sanctions for the quarantine violation, eight months after the incident first took place. 

"I've answered all the issues. My case is already in the hands of the Taguig prosecutor and we're waiting for a decision. The admin case has been handled by the internal affairs service. We're waiting," he said in mixed Filipino and English. 

READ: Mañanita celebrant Sinas likely to receive promotion, PNP chief says

"This will be the last time that I will answer you. Because we should put a period on that issue. And let's move on. Investigation has been going on...I'm not a perfect person, but I'm not a bad person. I'll do my best to perform my job. What happened happened. I'm just requesting [not to be judged by one incident.]," he also said. 

Asked about the alleged human rights violations linked to Sinas and his stint as regional director in Central Visayas, the newly-minted police chief vowed to face the issue as the country's top cop. 

"When I was in Cebu, we had operations and we had the implementation of search warrants on illegal drugs and illegal possession of firearms. During our operations, we declare if there were casualties. And there were some operations where there weren't even any cases filed. I don't know what the charges are, but we will face that," he said. 

Police Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao addresses the Metro Manila police district as he assumes his new post as its director in a ceremony on the morning of Wednesday, November 11.
Philstar.com screengrab

'Flood the streets of Metro Manila with policemen' 

Speaking at a separate ceremony in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, Police Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao formally assumed the role of regional director of the National Capital Region Police Office and bared similar marching orders to members of the police district. 

"I just would like to express that under our leadership, we can promise our countrymen that we will try and give our best to really maintain the peace and order," he said in mixed Filipino and English. 

"More of the police visibility on the streets. This is now one of our marching orders: let us flood the streets of Metro Manila with policemen in order to ensure the safety and security of our constituents," he also said. 

Danao said that this would only be possible through "a proper accounting" of policemen and any cases of misdemeanor, vowing to bring his Oplan Litis to the Metro Manila police district as part of the intensified internal cleansing operations within police ranks.

"I will be very strict on that, especially in the administration of justice for everyone...Iet us put a stop to the anti-illegal drugs. The door is always open for you to leave," he said.   

He added that his direction for the NCRPO would focus on anti-criminality and anti-corruption along with fighting drugs. 

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