By Hannah Torregoza
Neophyte Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Sunday urged fellow lawmakers not to put President Duterte’s remark about cops receiving gifts out of context.
“Ako okay lang eh. Huwag na natin ilagay out of context ang sinabi ni President, kasi very clear naman ang sinabi niya, (For me it’s okay. Let’s not take what the President said out of context. He was very clear about his stand),” Dela Rosa said.
The former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief was reacting to the warning issued by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and other senators who slammed the President’s statement that it is okay for cops to receive gifts from generous and thankful benefactors.
Dela Rosa said it should not be misconstrued as a form of bribery especially when the gifts are in the form of food.
“Halimbawa, paano ang mga pamilya ng kidnap victim, na-rescue ng pulis, nasiyahan ang pamilya, nagdala ng lechon, pinapakain ang mga pulis. Ano masama dun? Hindi naman nanghingi ang mga pulis. Basta anything out of generosity, hindi naman siguro masama, (For instance, what if a family of a kidnap victim that was successfully rescued by the police was so happy, brought and gave the policemen some lechon. What’s wrong with that? Anything out of generosity, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it),” Dela Rosa said.
CSC Commissioner Aileen Lizada had said there are laws that should be followed regarding the ethical conduct for public officials.
Lizada, in particular, cited Republic Act No. 6713, which is the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, as well as Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, also a former PNP chief, had also scored President Duterte for his statements saying such actions may start off an “insatiable greed” among the uniformed personnel.
“Mr. President, insatiable greed starts with simple, petty graft. It could be more addicting than drugs. There is no detox, nor is there rehab (rehabilitation) facility available for addiction to money,” Lacson earlier said in a Twitter post.
In a separate statement, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan believes the President’s remarks would only make the police become more abusive and corrupt.
“There will come a time when policemen will not act if there is no grease and the police will only side with the rich who can afford a lot of grease. Pity our countrymen, especially the poor, in this ‘Christmas’ gift-giving policy,” Pangilinan said.
“To the police, this is our call: Do not follow illegal orders from higher-ups,” he said.
But Dela Rosa, an administration ally, defended the President saying Duterte is merely a “very pragmatic person.”
“Magpakatotoo tayo. Huwag masyado by the book,” Dela Rosa said.
The former police chief recalled that there was a time a family of a holdup victim was so grateful to them after responding to their case and offered to fix their computers and their comfort rooms when they saw these were in need of repair.
“Ano, ayaw mo tanggapin? Hindi naman pang personal iyan? Why won’t we accept their offer? It’s nothing personal?) he pointed out.
“Magpakatotoo lang tayo. Huwag natin bigyan ng masamang meaning ang sinasabi ng Presidente. Maging practical lang (Let’s face it. Let’s not give the President’s statements a bad meaning. Let’s be practical),” he said.