“IS this not graft, Mr. President? Pray tell, who is ignorant?”
This was Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s retort after President Duterte on Tuesday said he was “trying to be a crusader but ignorant.”
Duterte’s remark arose from Lacson’s disagreement with his encouragement of policemen to take token bribes and violate the law.
“The President says he is fighting corruption. I also say am on a crusade in exposing corruption in government. If we are not complementing each other in this regard, there must be a problem somewhere,” Lacson said in a statement.
He also said Duterte was “exaggerating” when the latter called out his “penchant to just right away (comment) in every issue.” The senator pointed out that he only comments when asked by the media and keeps silent “when I am not familiar with the issue.”
“I am not even sure if I want to run for President, so I do not know what he is talking about,” Lacson said.
In an August 9 speech during the 118th anniversary of the PNP, Duterte told cops: “Kung bigyan kayo tanggapin n’yo (If they give you something, accept it). It is not bribery… What I mean is if there is generosity in them.”
Duterte also expressed contempt for the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, saying: “Sabi ng anti-graft, you cannot accept gifts. Kalokohan (The anti-graft law says you cannot accept gifts. Foolishness)!”
The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees prohibits “receiving any gift” from a person who is not a family member or relative. “Gifts” are prohibited, except if they are unsolicited and of insignificant value.
Section 7(d) of the law specifically prohibits the act of soliciting or accepting any gift, favor or loan from “any person in the course of their official duties” or in connection with official operations or transactions.
Sections 3(b) and 3(c) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act also prohibits officials from requesting or receiving gifts or other benefits in connection with any transaction or license application.
Duterte on Tuesday night slammed Vice President Leni Robredo and Lacson for questioning his advice to cops to accept gifts or tokens that are given out of gratitude for their service. – With Jocelyn Montemayor