Palace says only gifts of "insignificant" value can be accepted by cops
Malacanang clarified on Monday that policemen could only receive gifts of "nominal" or "insignificant" value and not in exchange of any favor.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak over his remark before the officers of the Philippine National Police last Friday that they could accept gifts out of generosity by other people and that could not be considered as bribery.
"The law is clear. Of nominal value, of insignificant value," he said of what government workers as a whole could accept.
He said if the gift is not insignificant, it should not be accepted.
Panelo, also the chief presidential legal counsel, said that what is important is that the gift would not be in anticipation of any favor that the government employee could get from the giver.
Asked what could be considered as insignificant or nominal amount of gift, he said, "you have to use your discretion there."
"If the one who gave you is a billionaire, for others, it could be big, but for him, it's small. But what is important is giving is not in consideration or anticipation of a favor or in exchange of a favor. That's the test," he explained.
Several laws provide that state workers should not receive gifts to prevent corruption.
Republic Act No. 6713, otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees, is one of the measures passed to prevent corruption in government.
"Public officials and employees shall not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan or anything of monetary value from any person 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," it read.
The law defines gift, as a thing or a right disposed of gratuitously, or any act or liberality, in favor of another who accepts it, and shall include a simulated sale or an ostensibly onerous disposition.
But the law also states that gift shall not include an unsolicited gift of nominal or insignificant value not given in anticipation of, or in exchange for, a favor from a public official or employee. Celerina Monte/DMS