(UPDATE) Metro Manila Police director Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas is the new chief of the Philippine National Police, Malacañang said Monday.
Sinas, who drew flak earlier this year for having a birthday breakfast celebration while most of the Philippines was under strict lockdown, replaces PNP chief Gen. Camilo Cascolan who retires this month. He takes over leadership of the PNP on Tuesday, Nov. 10.
While President Rodrigo Duterte did not explain the reasons for choosing Sinas, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the police officer "for the moment [is] the most trusted by the President."
"Presidential appointments are really very executive in character. It is a prerogative of the President and he did not make any explanation for his appointment," Roque told reporters.
"Hindi po kinakailangan depensahan ng Presidente ang napili niyang bagong PNP chief. It is just his prerogative," he added.
The President directed Sinas to continue the war on drugs and to keep the "gains" in terms of peace and order according to Roque.
Who is Sinas?
Sinas is the first to be appointed to the PNP top post by President Duterte outside the Philippine Military Academy Sinagtala Class of 1986.
All of Sinas' predecessors under the Duterte administration came from the same class--Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, Oscar Albayalde, Archie Gamboa, and retiring PNP chief Camilo Cascolan.
A member of the PMA Hinirang Class of 1987, Sinas is a classmate of Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, who leads the Joint Task Force COVID Shield which was in charge of implementing the COVID-19 lockdown.
Prior to taking over leadership of the Metro Manila Police in 2019, Sinas was director of the Central Visayas Police which covers provinces such as Cebu and Bohol.
Roque said the President considered Sinas' track record as a police officer in appointing him to the PNP top post. Duterte, according to his spokesperson, repeatedly mentioned Sinas' contributions to the war on drugs.
The President chose Sinas to lead the police force despite public outrage in May over the general's mañanita for his 55th birthday.
Photos of the gathering were posted on Facebook initially but these were deleted later. Charges were filed against Sinas and several other police officers over the gathering.