PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte late Friday said he won’t punish police officers who accept cash or “gifts” from the public, especially from those who want to recognize them for their successful work.
“Hindi ko kayo iipitin. Basta kung bigyan kayo, tanggapin ninyo,” Duterte said during the 118th Police Service Anniversary event of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The chief executive also lambasted the anti-graft law, arguing that there’s nothing wrong with accepting rewards if the move was done out of gratitude and generosity.
“If there’s generosity in them... Sabi ng anti-graft law, you cannot accept gifts. Kalokohan ‘yan (the anti-graft law said you cannot accept gifts. That’s nuts),” Duterte said.
“Especially if you’re a police, if you’re able to solve a crime, and the family would like to be generous to you, or would nurture a feeling of gratitude for what you accomplished, then by all means, accept it.”
The President reiterated he also does not mind if police officers are earning extra money from video-karera (horse racing video machine games) operations.
“Basta wala lang lokohan.. (just don’t engage in corrupt practices). If you are just content of maybe you want P50,000 and you’re able to get something like P25,000 or P20,000, be content. Do not allow your greed to run away with all the alam mo na, kalokohan.”
Duterte, in his State of the Nation Address in July, had called on Filipinos to “make a scene” and report to authorities any public official asking for bribes or grease money.
Duterte’s approval of lawmen accepting gifts from a grateful public earned a word of caution from Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief.
Lacson warned that acceptance of gifts by police officers could whet “insatiable greed.”
“Mr. President, insatiable greed starts with petty graft. It could be more addicting than drugs. There is no detox, nor is there rehab facility available for addiction to money,” Lacson tweeted.