Dela Rosa confesses to accepting gifts when he was still cop
MANILA, Philippines — Former Philippine National Police chief and now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Monday admitted to receiving gifts while he was still a policeman, justifying that the act of giving and receiving gifts is part of the Filipino culture.
Dela Rosa made the confession in the wake of President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements that there was nothing wrong if police officers would accept “gifts” from people grateful for their work.
“Ideally nasa batas, bawal tumanggap ng gift. Pero kung ikaw ay isang practical na tao, pragmatic ka na tao, hindi naman masama ‘yung taong magbibigay sa’yo, very close friend mo naman, eh bakit hindi mo tanggapin? ‘Wag na tayo magpaka-plastik,” Dela Rosa said in an interview with ANC.
“Inaamin ko, kapag Christmas ang dami kong natatanggap na Lacoste na T-shirt. Paano ko mapigilan ‘yan? Hindi ko mapigilan ang mga tao na maghatid ng kuwan sa opisina, iyung mga prutas, queso de bola, o ‘yung ham, meron dyan dumadating sa opisina. Ano ngayon eh in the spirit of Christmas nagbibigay?” the senator added.
Asked if he also received reports about his subordinates receiving gifts during his time as the nation’s top cop, Dela Rosa said it is the policemen’s discretion to accept a gift or not.
But Dela Rosa clarified that accepting gifts still depends on the giver.
“Iba naman ‘yung tatanggap ka ng regalo galing sa isang drug lord, galing sa isang gambling lord. Hindi maganda iyon. Pero kung tatanggap ka ng regalo mula sa isang matinong tao na masaya dahil sa ginagawa mo, anong masama doon?” Dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa also said that there is no limit on the amount that a police officer could get as gift, adding that it really only boils down to conscience.
“Wala po. Konsensya mo na lang. Sabihin mo, eh kung bibigyan ka ng koste na brand new, iba na ‘yun. ‘Yung bibigyan ka ng cash, iba na ‘yun. Pero ‘yung mga sinasabi ni Presidente kasi, ‘yung mga good will-good will lang ba, bakit natin bibigyan ng masamang implication ‘yun? Lahat naman tayo bilang Pilipino may kulturang ganun – giving and sharing,” Dela Rosa pointed out.
He then noted that the law on receiving gifts is questionable and ambiguous.
The Palace on Sunday clarified Duterte’s remark, saying that the chief executive was only referring to unsolicited gifts given “as a mere ordinary token of gratitude or friendship.”
But Senator Panfilo Lacson, himself a former PNP chief, tweeted: “Mr President, insatiable greed starts with simple, petty graft. It could be more addicting than drugs. There is no detox, nor is there rehab facility available for addiction to money.”
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