THE Department of Justice (DoJ) has asked the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to draft guidelines to determine what “significant gifts” government officials and employees may accept.
President Rodrigo Duterte had said that policemen were allowed to accept gifts, rather than commit extortion.
In an interview by DoJ reporters, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, said that the term “significant” or “insignificant” was relative. He said that it should depend on the situation and circumstance.
He cited that a P100, 000-gift was big but one has to look at the circumstance behind it.
“There is no definition of the “significant” and “insignificant” values so that is pretty relative. Depends on the actual circumstances or situation. Pero sympere kung tutuusin parang may kalakihan ang P100,000. But as I said it really depends on particular circumstances of each case,” he said.
The DoJ chief said that he has no specific instructions for his department, must only abide under existing laws .
“No specific instructions, but we just follow what is provided for under the anti-graft and corrupt practices act as well as the Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officers ,” Guevarra stressed.
Among the norms to be considered are the context of friendship and gratitude when a gift would have been given to a government officer.
“Depende nga kung ano what context binigyan ng certain amount. Example, out of gratitude or out of friendship but not to influence any official act. Sa tingin ko may konting leeway ang public officers kung di naman intended to influence the official action expected from that public officer,” he said.
He said that culture and traditions of Filipinos must also be considered as well.
“Kasi Filipino culture din tayo (We also have the Filipino culture so we have to respect our traditions, our customs na parang sa atin yan na kung tuwing may occasion nagbibigay tayo regalo sa ating kaibigan na nagkataon opisyal (that are part of us, that everytime there is a occasion, we give a gift to a friend who sometimes turns out to be government official) for many situations wala naman ibig sabihin yun. It is just a sign of friendship, a sign of gratitude except kung talaga purpose is to influence the official.” JOMAR CANLAS