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PACC says its fine to receive but not ask for gifts: ‘Yung batas ang dapat baguhin

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Government workers and officials should know whether to accept or decline gifts given as tokens of gratitude, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) said on Wednesday.

PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica said he agreed with President Rodrigo Duterte and Malacañang that it was okay for government workers and officials to accept tokens of gratitude for the services they rendered, as long as they did not ask for it.

“I will go by the proposal of the President. Sinabi niya naman po malinaw (He made it clear). Out of gratitude,” Belgica said in a media interview.

Belgica explained that critics’ negative perception of government workers and officials receiving gifts should be changed because it was a normal custom among Filipinos.

“Palagay ko medyo yung interpretation ng batas na regalo really has to be changed dahil normal yung magpasalamat,” Belgica said.

Belgica was referring to the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019).

“It’s not really the amount ang (that’s the) issue diyan (there), it’s the purpose of a favor then that’s bribery,” he added.

However, Belgica said if a person giving the token of gratitude is someone who has pending transactions with government, it is best to decline the gift.

“Kung yun nagbibigay ba sayo darating yung oras may transakyon sa goberyno, hwag mo kunin dahil mako-comprise ka dun (If the person who gave you something has dealings with government, don’t accept it because you will be compromised),” Belgica said.

Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said government workers and officials should use their discretion and only accept gifts that are of nominal value.

“Eh kung yung nagbigay sa iyo ng regalo bilyonaro e baka naman kahit na para sayo malaki, hindi malaki sa kanya ,” Panelo said.

According to Panelo, the law does not specify what “nominal value” meant. (PNA)

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