Metro Manila Police Chief Major General Debold Sinas says he will not take a leave unless there’s a direct order from President Rodrigo Duterte and Philippine National Police Chief General Archie Gamboa.
Sinas has been widely criticized for joining his men in a surprise birthday celebration for his 55th birthday on May 8. The party was held at the National Capital Region Police Office (NCPRO) eadquarters at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
The city is under ECQ until May 15.
In a CNN Philippines’ The Source interview, Sinas said he won’t accept calls to leave.
“Unless otherwise instructed by chief PNP and the President, I don’t think so,” he said.
Gamboa has ordered PNP’s Internal Affairs Service to investigate the celebration or so-called mañanita to see if social distancing was violated.
Photos of the surprise birthday serenade and celebration with police officers were first uploaded on the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Facebook page, but were taken down due to backlash and criticism.
Photos taken during the event show around 50 attendees lining up at a buffet and sitting together at round tables.
Only a few people were seen wearing masks.
There were also pictures showing Sinas accepting a bouquet of roses, and blowing out candles on his birthday cake as attendees watched.
After media outlets published the photos, Sinas and his team were accused of having double standards. Police have been arresting thousands of people for breaking quarantine.
On May 13, Sinas apologized for the event.“I apologize for what transpired during my birthday that caused anxiety to the public. It was never my intention to disobey any existing protocols relative to the implementation of enhanced community quarantine,” he said in a statement.
The police officers observed social distancing guidelines, Sinas added.
Sinas said there’s no need to take a leave before results of the investigation are released. “‘Di naman kailangan dahil aantayin ko yung results ng investigation,” he said.
Aside from Gamboa, Department of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra called on the National Bureau of Investigation for a probe into the event to check if other health violations were committed during the birthday gathering.
According to the guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force, mass gatherings are prohibited during the quarantine. Those leaving their homes are only allowed to do so to buy essential goods and avail of essential services. Citizens who must go outside are required to wear face masks, observe social distancing, and practice proper hygiene measures such as washing hands and disinfecting frequently.