SEN. Panfilo Lacson on Monday raised the need to revisit the present anti-graft laws to make them more attuned to the Filipino culture.
The senator stressed this amid recent debates on whether policemen should accept gifts from people who want to extend gratitude for helpimg them.
“Instead of giving public servants gifts that may be perceived as valuable in appreciation for a job well done, why not make an official donation to the institution they work for?” Lacson said.
“Our laws should take into account Filipino values such as ‘utang na loob,’ (gratitude) as there are Filipinos who may be offended if their gesture of gratitude is declined,” he said.
He added, “To be clear: Revisiting the law is not about providing excuses for accepting ‘gifts.’ This is about making our laws implementable and more attuned to our Filipino values. What good is a law if it cannot be implemented properly?”
Lacson cited his experience in August 1981, when as a Lieutenant Colonel with the Philippine Constabulary’s Metropolitan Command (PC-Metrocom), he led a team that rescued now-tycoon Robina Gokongwei from a kidnap-for-ransom gang.
The Gokongweis offered him and his team a hefty reward, but he declined, pointing out that he did not want his men to have the mentality of not helping “poor” complainants who may not afford to give them a reward.
To show their gratitude, the Gokongweis instead donated mobile patrol vehicles to the PC.
The donation was coursed through then PC chief, Maj. Gen. Fidel Ramos, via a deed of donation in favor of the PC Metrocom.
“The donation therefore carried in the inventory of government properties owned by the command, after I declined the reward money that they offered,” Lacson said.
Lacson said that he was not issued any of the donated vehicles. “But at least the donation was to the government.” BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO