Sinas tells police: Walk the talk; zero tolerance for rogue cops

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 10) — Controversial Police Major General Debold Sinas officially took over as the country’s 25th top cop on Tuesday, issuing a stern warning against erring personnel.

Lagi nating tandaan ang ating sinumpaang tungkulin bilang tagapagpatupad ng batas (Let us always remember our sworn duty as law enforcers),” Sinas said during the Philippine National Police’s change-of-command ceremony. “We should walk the talk in the PNP.”

Sinas succeeded retired Police General Camilo Cascolan, who bowed out of service after a two-month stint as PNP chief. The appointment elicited criticisms since Sinas drew public outrage in May for holding a birthday party dubbed “mañanita” in the midst of the strictest quarantine restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a separate interview, Cascolan said this controversy “really has affected” the police force, “but we were able to stand up again.” Charges were filed, he added.

Sinas is also being investigated for allegedly threatening the family of a retired cop to move out of their home within military camp grounds in July.

READ: Calabarzon top cop replaces Sinas as Metro Manila police chief

Policing the police

Sinas in his speech stressed that the PNP under his watch will "further strengthen the personnel discipline mechanism,” and that rogue cops will never be tolerated.

“Any member of the PNP who will be involved in corrupt practices will not be tolerated and will be immediately investigated and dismissed from police service if found guilty,” Sinas said.

He affirmed the 200,000-strong police force’s “unwavering support” for President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. The PNP’s drug enforcement units will not only go after “high-value targets,” but will also work on identifying and neutralizing the so-called “ninja” cops, or police personnel involved in illegal drugs, Sinas said.

He reminded his men to be on their best behavior, “not to play golf during office hours,” and refrain from gambling – as ordered by the President.

There will be a system of reward and punishment, wherein all corrupt and undisciplined police personnel will be sacked, Sinas warned.

Secretary Eduardo Año of the Department of Interior and Local Government, which has supervision over the police, said discipline should start from the top.

“May you uphold the standards of performance and discipline… by setting the good example among the men and women of the police service,” Año told Sinas.

Increased police presence

Año also enjoined the new PNP chief to intensify the fight against illegal drugs, criminality, and terrorism.

Sinas said there will be increased police presence across the country in the coming days. Only 15% of the force will be doing administrative functions while the remaining 85% will be out on the field “for more focused police operations.”

All personnel will be required to undergo competency training and technical enhancement activities.

“I call...all members of the PNP to volt in and to form a solid and united PNP, and together, we will start our quest of achieving our aim of continuing transformation and good governance to achieve a highly capable, effective and credible police force,” Sinas said.

This is in keeping with his use of the “Voltes V” concept to encourage policemen to work together. The theme song of the Japanese anime series even played as Sinas’ personal flag was raised to mark his takeover as PNP chief.