The Philippine National Police is expected to finish its internal investigation and file charges today against erring police officials who participated in the so-called mañanita for NCR Police Office Director Major General Debold Sinas.
In an interview with Pinky Webb of CNN Philippines’ The Source, PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said, “Those who may have violated quarantine rules will have to be punished.”
Admitting that the traditional mañanita may have turned into a mass gathering, Banac said they may be charged for violating quarantine rules under Republic Act 11332 or the Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases. “That would be non-cooperation of quarantine, specifically physical distancing and non-wearing of face masks,” he explained.
They may also face charges for violating the code of conduct for public officials, as well as face other administrative charges.
Included in this investigation are Sinas himself, as well as the “more than ten” personnel in the gathering.
Once charges are filed, Banac said, PNP management may choose to place these officials on administrative leave.
However, Banac clarified, “There's also a possibility that they may stay for the reason that we are in this public health emergency, and we may not have to change top executives, we don’t have to change forces in the middle of this fight against COVID-19.”
Pictures from Sinas’s birthday celebration on May 8 went viral on social media a few days ago, leading to swift backlash against the alleged violation of quarantine protocols. While initially saying that he believed Sinas’ account that social distancing was followed during the party, PNP chief Gen. Archibald Gamboa has directed the PNP’s Internal Affairs Service to conduct an investigation.