Duterte appoints Sinas as next PNP Chief

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 9) — Metro Manila police chief Major General Debold Sinas has been named as the new head of the Philippine National Police, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed on Monday.

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed the controversial officer as the 25th chief of the 200,000-strong police force, replacing Gen. Camilo Cascolan who will reach the mandatory retirement age on Tuesday after only serving for over a month. Sinas will assume his post on Tuesday.

Sinas recently faced criticisms for holding a birthday party or "mañanita" in the midst of the strictest quarantine restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Calls for his resignation mounted in May for violating restrictions. He and his subordinates were charged for the surprise birthday blowout. He is also being investigated for allegedly threatening the family of a retired cop to move out of their home within camp grounds in July.

Roque shrugged off such criticisms during his regular virtual briefing, reiterating multiple times that the chief excutive did not need to defend his decision to appoint Sinas.

"Let's just say that appointment to the post is a matter of trust and confidence and he is, for the moment, the most trusted by the President so let's leave it at that," he explained, also noting the police officer's track record as an anti-drug crusader.

In a statement, Cascolan expressed support for Sinas and urged the police to rally behind his successor's leadership.

“General Sinas needs all the support and strong committment of the PNP Officer Corps and rank-and-file for him to effectively discharge his duties and functions as Chief PNP," he said.

Sen. Bato Dela Rosa, who once headed the country's police force, congratulated Sinas and wished him luck in his new role.

"He is a good choice. He has a proven track record. Nobody is perfect in this world," he said in a separate statement.

Meanwhile, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan expressed dismay over the incoming PNP chief's appointment.

"With all due respect, hindi na sorpresa na ang mga kakampi o kaalyado na nasasangkot sa mga kaso o katiwalian ay hindi pinaparasuhan, kinokonsinti o di kaya ay promoted pa," said the solon, who cited the likes of former Bureau of Customs commissioners Nicanor Faeldon and Isidro Lapeñas and current Health Secretary Francisco Duque.

[Translation: It's not surprising that allies (of this administration) involved in cases or corruption do not get punished but are instead covered up for or even promoted.]

Sinas was director of the Central Visayas’ regional police office in Cebu City from July 2018 until January this year, when he was appointed head of the National Capital Region Police Office.

His mandatory retirement is on May 2021, when he turns 56.