By Genalyn Kabiling
Policemen can accept gifts from people grateful for their service as well as venture into video-karera operations to earn extra income as long as they are not greedy, President Duterte said Friday.
The President found nothing irregular with such police behavior even after reminding the cops to keep their integrity intact and adhere to ethical and professional standards during the 118th Police Service anniversary celebration in Camp Crame.
Duterte, in his speech, argued that people giving gifts to policemen after solving a crime does not constitute bribery or other violation of the law.
“Kung bigyan kayo, eh tanggapin ninyo [If you’re given a gift, accept it]. It is not bribery because — it cannot be bribery because it is allowed by law. What I mean if there is generosity in them, sabi ng anti-graft you cannot accept gifts. Kalokohan ‘yan,” he said.
“f you are 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 accomplish, then by all means, accept it,” he added.
Duterte also saw nothing wrong with cops getting involved in video-karera gambling operations but cautioned them to curb their greed.
“‘Yung machine. ‘Di ba ‘yung karera na sa inyong AOR, inyo naman ‘yan. Wala man… T***… Wala akong pakialam. Sige, ibigay mo sa police. Eh hindi mo rin talaga mapigilan [The video-karera machines in your area of jurisdiction are yours right. I don’t care. Just give it to the police. You cannot stop it anyway],” he said.
“Basta wala lang lokohan. If you are just content of maybe you want 50,000 and you are able to get something like 25 or 20, be content. Be — do not allow your greed to run away with all the — alam mo na, kalokohan. So ‘yan lang akin. Hindi ko kayo iipitin,” he said.
The President explained that he was letting police go into other businesses because he knows they are cash-strapped in taking care of their families. “Alam mo ‘yang police even sa pamilya nila hirap ‘yan. I know because I have been mayor for 23 years. I was a prosecutor for eight years,” he said.
Before his comments about allowing cops to accept gifts and dabble in other businesses, the President has urged policemen to perform their job with integrity.
“As we mark this significant milestone, I enjoin the entire organization to control its efforts to enforce the rule of law, prevent and control corruption and maintain peace and order, and ensure public safety and internal security,” he said.
“In all of these undertakings, I call upon you to keep your integrity intact as you uphold the highest ethical and professional standards in public service,” he added.