Firefighters under fire but Sinas stays on

Up to this moment all of the firefighters sacked over a simple ‘quarantine despedida party’ in Batangas City recently are wondering why the ax fell on them swiftly while that of NCRPO chief’s Debold Sinas’ ‘manyanita’ birthday party inside his office before was treated only with kid gloves. Dura lex, sed lex we always say. The law is harsh but it is the law. But unfortunately, what we are seeing now on the implementation of quarantine laws created by the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force)amid the pandemic seems selective.

Yes, the policies and health protocol violation penalties could be harsh but it seems that only the small fries seem to fry in the frying pan while big fishes go scot-free; similar to what happened to the May 8 “extraordinary birthday bash” of Mr. Sinas. Reports have it that President Duterte, during one of his Covid update addresses, even defended Sinas, who was heavily criticized for apparently violating quarantine protocols during his birthday bash. As this happens, and even up until now, many violators still languish in jail serving local health protocol penalties. One good example is a fish vendor in Navotas whom they call as “Mang Dodong” who only came out from detention after serving 12 days jailtime for violation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). He had to follow a tedious process to be free because he has no money to post bail.

Violations are violations and penalties are penalties, and we have nothing against it. If someone has violated a law, he or she must suffer the consequences el pronto as mandated by law. Such is the case of the firemen and women of Batangas City, they are neither exempt from the strong hand of the law. In fact, they already have their comeuppance as Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP) chief Jose Embang Jr. already withdrew the new assignment supposedly given to Batangas City Fire Chief Insp. Elaine Evangelista as chief of the Biñan Fire Station in Laguna.

“The BFP has also issued a show cause order against all the its personnel involved in the alleged mass gathering in violation of IATF guidelines. The BFP IAS (Internal Affairs Service) and Regional Office 4A (Calabarzon) have also been directed to conduct a thorough investigation and submit its findings immediately to the DILG,” said Jonathan Malaya, DILG spokesperson, in a media statement. Okay. Fine. Whatever.

What baffles the people is the blatant favoritism, if not, the wanton bias to big fishes swimming in the ocean of political appointments. And with it, we say that that there could never be an ounce of a fighting chance with regards to PH’s fight against corruption. (IA/DS)

Featured Photos: Batangas City Bureau of Fire Protection men and women with a super-imposed Regional Order No. R4A-RAWD-2020-009, the Medalya ng Papuri given 20 January 2020 to the firefighters of Batangas City BFP. Photos lifted from the Batangas City LGU website.

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