Pangilinan may payo sa mga magrarally: 'Please lang tawaging Mañanita ang pagtitipon at magdala ng mga bulaklak para hindi arestuhin ang lahat ng dumalo!'

Photos courtesy of GMA news and Rappler

Senator Francis Pangilinan advised protesters who wished to air their resentment and grievances against the shortcomings of the government should call their gatherings as "mañanita" to avoid getting arrested or facing charges.

"Sa lahat ng nais mag protesta sa mga nagaganap na kapalpakan sa palakad sa Gobyerno, please lang tawaging Mañanita ang pagtitipon at magdala ng mga bulaklak para hindi maaring arestuhin, kasuhan o managot ang lahat ng dumalo!" Pangilinan tweeted.

In an article by GMA News, Pangilinan's advice was an apparent reference to the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Police Major General Debold Sinas, who drew flak last May for holding a birthday celebration despite the prohibition against mass gathering, including parties, under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

The controversial Police General, who drew flak for the surprise birthday celebration for him, who turned 55 on May 8, in Camp Bagong Diwa, in the time of ECQ.

In that incident, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año claimed Sinas and his fellow policemen did not willfully violate quarantine protocols, as the celebration was a "mañanita" tradition and not a birthday party.

The NCRPO chief has since apologized for the Mañanita fiasco, but still claimed that some of the photos of the event circulating online were "edited and grabbed from old posts."

"Some of the pictures circulating in the social media were edited and grabbed from old posts. The pictures may depict itself however it does not define the totality of what really had happened," Gen. Sinas said.

"Nevertheless, I apologize for what transpired during my birthday that caused anxiety to the public," he added.

Like the DILG Secretary, President Rodrigo Duterte also defended the General Sinas following the mass gathering controversy.

Sen. Pangilinan's post came following several groups expressed fears that the controversial new anti-terrorism bill, which is for signature of Duterte, might be used to target individuals who would express objection to the government.

The chamber was able to fast-track its approval after the President certified the measure as urgent "in order to adequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare."

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