Briones: Hail to the chief

Publio J. Briones III
·2 min read

THE police official that the President once described as a “good and honest man” has just been appointed chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas will take over PNP Chief Camilo Cascolan, who will retire on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020.

If you don’t know who Sinas is, then you are new to Cebu. He was director of the Police Regional Office 7 from July 2018 to October 2019.

I wouldn’t call his stint here controversial, although he did have to appear before a Senate hearing to explain the series of assassinations in Negros Oriental, which is under the jurisdiction of the PRO 7, against “communists” and their alleged sympathizers.

I remember he visited our office on P. del Rosario once. It was on a Saturday and the quiet in the newsroom was broken by the blaring of sirens.

It’s not that I’m nosy, but it is the nature of a journalist to be inquisitive. Of course I had to go down and check what that ruckus was all about. While on the stairs, I met one of my colleagues. I asked what was going on. She told me that our digital team was going to interview Sinas.

Since I was already downstairs, I poked my head outside and saw at least three vehicles, two of them Swat. They were carrying men in uniform. Tall, young and very fit men. I’m not sure if they were carrying guns. Anyway, Sinas hadn’t arrived yet. So I went back upstairs.

The interview was going to take place in the conference room, which is inside the newsroom. I figured I’d finally get to see the Zumba-dancing police official up close and personal.

When I heard another siren, I knew it was him. And a few minutes later, some men in short-sleeved barong carrying radios entered. They were all tall, young and very fit men. They were followed by Sinas.

It was the first and last time I saw him in person. The guy is tall and imposing, but not young and somewhat on the heavy side. He didn’t look like a typical policeman.

For someone who liked a large entourage, Sinas was approachable. And that’s what reporters in the police beat liked about him. He was accommodating. He answered their questions. He was a good source. And he also had a sense of humor.

Sinas ordered speakers to be installed in front of the PRO 7 headquarters, which played very loud music to drown out the voices of protesters. I’m not sure if the music was disco. The protesters weren’t amused. I thought it was funny.

I am not going to dwell on what happened earlier this year at the height of the pandemic. After all, this is a happy occasion. Another Bisdak has risen through the ranks.