Just the police and military?
THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - August 12, 2019 - 12:00am

It all starts with the little things. This seems to be what Sen. Panfilo Lacson is saying upon reacting to President Duterte's statement that it would not be wrong or illegal for police officers to receive gifts or some kind of gratuity from grateful citizens in connection with the service they render for as long as no corruption is involved. Lacson, a former chief of the PNP, worries that small things like receiving gifts might escalate into something illegal such as protection money for illegal activities.

Addiction to money is a possibility. There is no rehab or detoxification for addiction to money, especially when it is just placed on your lap. What if illegal means are done just to satisfy that need for more money? Such is not a farfetched concern.

And if the police are merely doing their job, why the extra rewards or gifts when they already receive salaries for doing so? This is in fact what PNP spokesman, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, stated. But Banac was quick to add that they would "submit to the better wisdom of our lawyer-President that it is harmless to receive gifts so long as there is no element of corruption involved and no oppression or abuse of authority is committed." That immediately sets the tone for such gratuity. In that case, why should it only hold true for police? Many government teachers, nurses, and employees work just as hard. Wouldn't they deserve gifts and such for the work they do? The police are already fortunate for having their salaries doubled under the Duterte administration.

It is clear that Duterte favors the police and the military. There have been so many occasions where the president has defended, thanked, given benefits, and even pleaded with the military not to oust him. The president is now saying there is nothing wrong if police operate video-karera machines as a means to augment their already doubled income? Machines that only recently were ordered destroyed by Manila Mayor Isko Moreno? Would the police and military now feel entitled over ordinary citizens?

There laws such as Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees that forbid a government official or employee from receiving any form of "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." I really don't know how Duterte could state something that is in complete contradiction to such laws. But then again, did he not admit to planting evidence to sow intrigue when he was a prosecutor?

Hopefully, Duterte will also pay attention to other government employees and give them their due. They are also important in providing good service to the people. If Duterte says that the police always need extra income in spite of their pay being doubled and sees nothing wrong with operating video-karera machines, I'm sure many government employees are also wanting in income.

Do they get to operate video-karera machines free from police intervention? There are many types of gambling that can indeed generate extra income. Are they covered by Duterte's "it's okay" statement? The Palace has yet to comment on Duterte's statements, if they are able to.

PANFILO LACSON
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