MANILA - Malacañang on Monday stood by President Rodrigo Duterte's remarks that police officers can accept gifts given out of gratefulness or generosity.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said police officers can accept gifts of "nominal value" for as long as these are not "excessive."
"What is important is hindi yun binigay (that is not given) in anticipation of a favor coming from the recipient or in exchange of a favor from the recipient which is a police officer," Panelo told reporters.
"Dapat 'di nila tatanggapin kung masyado naman malaki," he said, noting that most gifts given to police officers are just mere "tokens."
(They should not accept it if the gift is too big.)
Speaking to police officers on Friday, Duterte said he does not consider accepting gifts given out of gratefulness as bribery.
"Basta kung bigyan kayo, eh tanggapin ninyo (If they give you a gift, accept it). It is not bribery because --- it cannot be bribery because it is allowed by law," the President told policemen.
Under the law, 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."
Philippine National Police chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde on Monday assured the public that police officers would not accept gifts with strings attached.
"Sa batas natin 'yung insignificant 'yung value gaya po ng mga pagkain na consumable na maliit na bagay. Pero 'yun pong malalaking bagay lalo na kapag may kapalit na pabor, bawal na bawal po 'yan," he told radio DZMM.
(Under the law, policemen could accept those with insignificant value like food and other small things. But significant gifts, especially in exchange of favors, are not allowed.)
Albayalde said policemen are bound to follow Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.