Robredo hits Duterte’s refusal to sanction cops who accept gifts

Chad de Guzman, CNN Philippines

Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday said government officials and employees are prohibited by law from accepting gifts in any form.

This follows President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier pronouncement that he finds nothing wrong with policemen accepting cash or “gifts” from the public.

Robredo in her weekly show BISErbisyong LENI cited Republic Act 6713 or the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees” to counter Duterte’s statement on Friday.

Doon nakalagay talaga, very specific na iyong public officials at saka employees, hindi puwedeng mag-solicit, hindi puwedeng tumanggap ng kahit anong regalo,” she said.

[Translation: It’s there, it’s very specific that public officials and employees cannot solicit or receive any kind of gift.]

The said law states that government employees are prohibited from receiving gifts “in the course of their official duties or in connection with any operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the functions of their office.”

Robredo said these laws are safeguards against corrupt practices, and compliance is important, especially among cops.

Lalo na sa pulis, ‘di ba, lalo na sa pulis,” Robredo said. “Parang biased dahil tumanggap ka.”

[Translation: “Especially for the police. Acceptance will reek of bias.”]

The Palace reacted by saying there are instances where receiving gifts is not prohibited by law.

Presidential Spokesperson Sal Panelo’s pointed out Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act which enumerates exemptions from anti-graft provisions.

“Unsolicited gifts of nominal or insignificant value not given in anticipation of, or in exchange for, a favor from a public official or employee is likewise an exemption under Republic Act No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees,” the president’s spokesperson said in a statement Sunday.

Panelo lambasted politicians who continue to criticize Duterte for his remarks, adding that the President knows what he’s saying as it is based from his experiences as a former Davao City local official.

“We must see the context where the President is coming from. As the local chief executive of Davao City for more than two decades, he witnessed first-hand how local authorities in his city fought tooth and nail with the criminal elements and the dregs of society and how some members of the public showed their appreciation — through gifts — in transforming Davao City as one of the safest places in Asia today,” he argued.

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