I finished my transactions with a government agency easily, thanks to the assistance of an efficient and courteous government employee. I was pleasantly surprised and grateful to her. Thus, I tried giving her a box of doughnuts and cake just before I left. I was shocked when she refused and returned the food to me. Was I wrong in showing my appreciation to her?
It is against the law for government officials and employees to receive gifts because of their position and office. The following are the laws apropos on the matter:
“Republic Act 3019, Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act:
Section 3. Corrupt practices of public officers.
(b) Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share, percentage or benefit, for himself or for any other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between the government and any other part, wherein the public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the law.
(c) Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present or other pecuniary or material benefit, for himself or for another, from any person for whom the public officer, in any manner or capacity, has secured or obtained, or will secure or obtain, any government permit or license, in consideration for the help given or to be given, without prejudice to Section 13 of this Act.
Republic Act 6713, An Act Establishing a Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees
Section 7. Prohibited Acts and Transactions. – In addition to acts and omissions of public officials and employees now prescribed in the Constitution and existing laws, the following shall constitute prohibited acts and transactions of any public official and employee and are hereby declared to be unlawful:
(d) Solicitation or acceptance of gifts. – 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.
Presidential Decree 46 Making It Punishable For Public Officials And Employees To Receive, And For Private Persons To Give, Gifts On Any Occasion, Including Christmas
xxx do hereby make it punishable for any public official or employee, whether of the national or local governments, to receive, directly or indirectly, and for private persons to give, or offer to give, any gift, present or other valuable thing on any occasion, including Christmas, when such gift, present or other valuable thing is given by reason of his official position, regardless of whether or not the same is for past favor or favors or the giver hopes or expects to receive a favor or better treatment in the future from the public official or employee concerned in the discharge of his official functions. Included within the prohibition is the throwing of parties or entertainments in honor of the official or employee or his immediate relatives
Revised Penal Code
Article 211 – Indirect bribery
The penalties of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, and public censure shall be imposed upon any public officer who shall accept gifts offered to him by reason of his office.”
Hence, it is only right that the employee refused and returned the food you gave her. He/she was only following the law.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org