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Palace on Duterte’s ‘gifts-not bribery’ remark: Abogado ang Pangulo

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Prince Golez

Police officers are not barred from accepting cash or gifts out of gratitude, Malacanang said on Sunday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said this after the President Rodrigo Duterte’ remark that cops may accept gifts from the public sparked opposition from some quarters.

“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 added.

Citing Republic Act 3019, Panelo clarified that the anti-graft provisions do not apply to “unsolicited gifts or presents of small or insignificant value offered or given as a mere ordinary token of gratitude or friendship according to local customs or usage.”

Also exempted from the prohibition under RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees are unsolicited gifts of nominal or insignificant value not given in anticipation of, or in exchange for, a favor from a public official or employee.

Panelo reminded the Filipino people that Duterte, being a lawyer by profession and training, knows these exemption are envisioned by the law and is precisely referring to the same during the event.

“The giving of the gift is simply an appreciation by a thankful community for a job well done performed by the law enforcers whose lives flirt with death every time they step out of their homes,” the chief presidential legal counsel said.

“Certainly it is not given in anticipation of – or in exchange for – a favor from the members of the police force. The gift giving in fact inspires them to do their work faithfully and efficiently as their toil is not left unnoticed and unappreciated,” he added.

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