ILOILO City – Accepting gifts is a form of corruption and prohibited under the law, the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) reminded policemen. It was echoing the stand of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde who advised policemen not to misinterpret President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent statement that it was okay for them to receive gifts, particularly from wealthy and influential people.
Policemen must not violate Republic Act (RA) 9713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, said Police Lieutenant Joem Malong, PRO-6 spokesperson.
“There may be some misinterpretation so we just want to remind our men about the Code of Conduct which is actually a law,” said Albayalde in Camp Crame yesterday morning.
The PRO-6 is deferring to the stand of the PNP chief, stressed Malong.
“We respect the statement of our President, but we are governed by law so we will not accept gifts. That’s the stand of PRO-6,” she added.
During the 118th Police Service anniversary celebration Friday last week, President Duterte said he found nothing irregular with such police behavior, even after reminding the cops to keep their integrity intact and adhere to ethical and professional standards.
Duterte said giving gifts to policemen after solving a crime does not constitute bribery or other violation of the law.
Albayalde said the President may be referring to food items sent to policemen during birthday celebrations.
“Hindi po talaga maiiwasan ‘yan at kadalasan ay hindi rin po alam kung sino ang nagpadala,” said Albayalde. “But if it involves money and other expensive things and if those who would give these gifts would ask for favors in return, then it is clearly and strictly prohibited.”
Malong agreed. She said under RA 6713 “public officials and employees shall not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, 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.”
Albayalde, meanwhile, reminded the public that policemen are public servants and serving and protecting them are part of the PNP mandate and the policemen’s sworn duty.
Aside from graft cases, accepting gifts would make policemen liable administratively wherein the maximum penalty is dismissal from service, he added.
For his part, PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac said, “We always explain to the public that there is no need for them to give gifts as we are just doing our job and we get paid by the Filipino people through our salaries.” (With a report from the Philippine News Agency/PN)