Philippine official who ignored lockdown rules is named chief of police.

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has named as his national police chief an officer who drew public ire this year for violating pandemic restrictions.

The appointment of Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, who was previously the police chief of metropolitan Manila, was announced on Monday by Mr. Duterte’s spokesman, Harry Roque. General Sinas was among 19 police officers charged in May with violating social-distancing rules after his birthday party was held at the police headquarters in Manila during a lockdown. At the time, the government said the charges proved its commitment to stamping out misbehavior by officials.

Mr. Roque defended General Sinas’s appointment, saying he had been a “big help” in Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs, which has left thousands dead since the president took office in 2016. General Sinas is required to retire when he turns 56 next May.

“Let’s give him a chance,” Mr. Roque said. “He has six months to prove his worth and let’s see if he will inspire people.”

Rights groups say that extrajudicial killings tied to the drug war have continued despite the lockdowns this year, and in fact have gone unchecked as the country grapples with the health crisis. Cristina Palabay, head of the Philippine rights group Karapatan, said that under General Sinas there had been more drug-related killings as well as illegal arrests.

The Philippines, a country of more than 100 million people where virus cases peaked in August, has had close to 400,000 infections, one of the highest totals in Southeast Asia. There have been 7,647 deaths, according to a New York Times database.

Source: Read Full Article