Comelec employees reminded not to accept cash gifts
MANILA, Philippines—Do not solicit or accept gifts, especially if it is in the form of cash, during the holiday season.
Commission on Election (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes issued the reminder, saying erring employees might be dismissed from the service.
“Gifts, especially cash, may be construed as a bribe. That’s equivalent to indirect bribery especially if the one giving has a pending case here,” Brillantes said in an interview.
The poll body is currently in the process of hearing several election protest cases stemming from the national, local, and barangay (village) polls earlier this year.
Brillantes stressed that they would be strictly implementing the prohibitions set by Republic Act 6713, or the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.”
RA 6713 provides that public officials and employees shall not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan 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.
Public officials or employees found accepting gifts may be punished with a fine not exceeding the equivalent of six months’ salary or suspension not exceeding one year, or removal depending on the gravity of the offense.
“But there are those who insist on giving gifts in kind, like food. That may be an exemption because we share it with others, but receiving cash is a different story, it’s a no-no,” Brillantes said.