(UPDATED 1:45 p.m.) The police general in charge of Metro Manila has landed in hot water after photos of his birthday party went viral on social media.

Allegations of double standards grew when Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Archie Gamboa defended National Capital Region police director Debold Sinas, claiming there was no partying and that social distancing was observed during the May 8 event at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.

But the photos of Sinas blowing the candle on a cake, as well as his buffet party setup, were uploaded to Facebook by the National Capital Region Police Office, belying Gamboa’s claim that the event was just a “mañanita” or serenade.

Mass gatherings are banned under the enhanced community quarantine, in effect over Sinas’ jurisdiction since mid-March.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Wednesday said Sinas’ party was a “big no-no” amid the pandemic but left the matter for the PNP to decide.

In a Palace press briefing, Año said mañanitas were a tradition of officers who had graduated from the Philippine Military Academy.

The tough-talking Sinas is no stranger to controversy. He was accused of maltreating a female TV reporter in December, and had to apologize for a memo on the profiling of Muslim students in February.

Netizens had accused authorities of double standards, citing the strict implementation of quarantine measures for the public and laxity when it came to VIPs, as in the case of Sinas.

Sinas in March warned quarantine violators they would be arrested immediately without warning.

Sinas apologized for the gaffe on Wednesday, saying he had no intention to violate quarantine guidelines. But he claimed some of the photos were edited or grabbed from different events.

Gamboa said he would let the “rule of law” prevail in Sinas’ case, in a statement read by Palace spokesman Harry Roque. (PressONE.ph)