Anti-corruption exec clarifies remark on P100K gift to gov’t workers
MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner Greco Belgica on Wednesday pointed out that his comment on P100,000 being an “insignificant gift” for government workers was twisted and taken out of context.
In a statement on Tuesday, Belgica said his intention in making the remark was only meant to “point out what the law provides and not to justify bribery or corruption.”
“My statement was clearly taken out of context and was specifically worded in such a way that would draw intrigue at the expense of my name,” he said, referring to a news article on his comment on the matter, which was written based on his interview with a television network on Friday.
Belgica’s controversial remark was made after President Rodrigo Duterte stated that police officers may accept gifts from private individuals if it is given out of gratitude for their job as law enforcers.
Belgica explained that the President was probably referring to Section 14 of the Republic 3019 and Section 3, Paragraph C of the Republic Act 6713.
Section 14 of RA 3019 states that “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, shall be exempted from the provisions of this Act.”
Paragraph C of Section 3, RA 6713 meanwhile states that gifts given to government workers “shall not include an unsolicited gift of nominal or insignificant value not given in anticipation of, or in exchange for a favor from a public official or employee.”
“A careful perusal of the said laws would show that gifts given to government employees are allowed, provided that they are of insignificant or nominal value,” Belgica said.
“The law does not define what is nominal and insignificant.”
He said that in an interview last Friday, he was merely citing as an example a private individual who decides to give P100,000 out of gratitude to a government employee who found and returned a lost bag containing P1 million.
Citing this scenario, he then asked the news anchor: “Will you charge the employee for corruption? What if the token given was 1K?”
“First, when I said P100, 000, I was only referring to the specific example abovementioned. The giving of P100,000 as gift is not applicable and cannot be justified in any other case,” Belgica said.
“Second, the alleged statement that ‘100K is insignificant’ was not a statement but was posed as a question to the news anchor. It was him, referring to the host who was trying to insinuate, in bad faith, that I have issued that statement when in fact there was none. It was part of the story to make me look corrupt,” he said adding that it was also “unfair” and “irresponsible” to drag the name of PACC in the issue, saying he clarified during the interview that his explanation was only based on his opinion and not of the commission.
He, however, said that he is thankful that the issue has somehow educated the public, and asserted that the “vagueness” of the law should be addressed by authorities. /gsg
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