‘Pulis magiting’ awardee cuffs bribe giver
From a fine of P500, a man now has to post bail of P50,000 after he allegedly tried to bribe policemen who caught him driving a motorcycle without a helmet.
Unluckily for Catalino Pondales Jr., one of the law enforcers turned out to be Police Cpl. Claro Fornis, a member of the Makati police who recently became the first “Pulis Magiting” awardee.
After being accosted at a checkpoint on Gil Puyat Avenue in Barangay Palanan, Makati, on July 29, Pondales reportedly threw six P20 bills at a policeman while saying, “For your snacks.”
He was promptly cuffed by Fornis and charged with corruption of a public official and direct assault.
As of Thursday, Pondales was still detained at the police station. He would need P50,000 to post bail.
“I’m afraid of doing corrupt things to earn a living. I love my job of serving the people as a police officer,” Fornis told the Inquirer. “Isn’t it better if what you feed your family comes from honest and hard work?”
For the 32-year-old Fornis, encountering people offering bribes to get out of trouble has become a common occurrence. Some even offer as much as P2,000 to avoid the hassle of paying a measly fine.
“Some people think lowly of us. But you can’t buy a policeman’s honor. It has no price,” he said.
Last month, Fornis received the Pulis Magiting award from Ayala Foundation and the National Capital Region Police Office in recognition of police officers who “show love of country by performing their duties with integrity, honesty and honor, and who perform simple but truly admirable acts of daily heroism.”
The award was part of the foundation’s “Maging Magiting” campaign, which aims to “highlight love of country and pride in being Filipino.”
Fornis made the news last month after he volunteered to become the guardian of 14-year-old Angela Perez whose parents were in jail on drug charges.
Perez had gone to the Makati Police Community Precinct 1 to ask for help from the lawmen who arrested her mother. She wanted to enroll in school but had been turned away unless she could present a guardian. With Fornis’ help, she was accepted as a Grade 7 student at Gen. Pio del Pilar National High School.
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