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Sinas won’t take leave pending probe on mañanita; says nothing wrong with gathering

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Police Major General Debold Sinas on Thursday said he would not take a leave pending investigation of his controversial mañanita unless he will be ordered to do so.

"Unless otherwise instructed by the chief PNP (Philippine National Police) or the President, I don't think so. Hintayin ko na lang po ang results ng investigation," Sinas said in an interview on CNN-Philippines.

Sinas insisted that there is nothing wrong with the mañanita, reiterating that social distancing was observed by police officials who had attended the event.

"'Yung gathering po na 'yun, hindi po 'yun mali. Wala po kaming nakitang mali doon, for me ha? Sinas said.

"It's just simple greetings, ganito... It's very ungentleman naman 'yan kung hindi ko sila hinarap at kung sabi ko huwag na kayo kumanta sa akin. They prepared for that eh. Alam niyo naman po, nag-observe sila ng social distancing at nagmask po sila diyan..." he added.

It was on May 8 when Sinas and police officers celebrated the former's birthday despite the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine.

Photos of the celebration were initially posted on the Facebook page of the NCRPO's Public Information Office. The photos have since been deleted.

Still, pictures of the event have circulated online, drawing flak from netizens because social distancing was apparently not observed during the celebration.

It was contrary to the rules being enforced by the police in this time of mandatory quarantine that physical distancing must always be observed and that all types of mass gatherings are prohibited.

Sinas has issued an apology if the event caused "anxiety" to the public. However, he insisted that some of the pictures that circulated were grabbed from old posts.

Philippine National Police chief Police General Archie Francisco Gamboa instructed the Internal Affairs Service to conduct an investigation on the incident.

According to IAS Inspector General Attorney Alfegar Triambulo, Sinas will not be relieved pending results of the investigation. He, however, assured the public that a fair probe will transpire as civilian lawyers were assigned to the case.

Triambulo is eyeing to submit the findings of the probe by next week. — Anna Felicia Bajo/RSJ, GMA News