By Hannah Torregoza
Neophyte Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Monday said he believes there is no need to amend the country’s existing laws governing state officials on ethical standards and corruption.
The former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief stressed this after receiving flak on defending President Rodrigo Duterte’s statements approving cops receiving gifts.
Dela Rosa is referring to Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
“I don’t feel the need. Kaliit na bagay n’yan para pagtuunan ng pansin. Maliit na bagay ang regalo (Those are just petty issues to focus on. Gifts are just a small issue),” Dela Rosa said in a radio interview over Dobol B, GMANewsTV.
“It is happening anywhere, everywhere. Nasa kultura natin ‘yan e, (it’s in our culture),” he said.
Dela Rosa, however, said cops should only be wary of the possible conflict of interest that may arise.
“Very clear sa akin ‘yung batas sa Anti-Graft na bawal tumanggap ng regalo dahil ang spirit ng batas is para hindi magkaroon ng conflict of interest, hindi magamit ang pwesto sa pangungurakot. Later on babalikan ka nyan at hingan pa ng pabor baka hindi ka na makahindi (the law on anti-graft is very clear to me, that its prohibited to accept gifts, because the spirit of the law is to ensure that there is no conflict of interest and it can’t be used for corruption. Later on, they will return to you and ask for favors you cannot say no to),” he pointed out.
“Pero ‘yung natulungan mo, pinapakain ka bakit mo masamain? Nasa kultura natin ‘yan. Hindi ako ipokrito, (But for those who helped you out, sent you some food, why do you make an issue out of it? That’s part of our culture. I am not a hypocrite),” he stressed.
Dela Rosa, however, said cops receiving gifts from personalities known to be connected with illicit activities are a different matter.
“Kung nakita mo bigyan ka ng relo, ang nagbigay financier ng illegal gambling o kaya well-known character na involved sa droga e bakit mo tatanggapin ‘yan? Delikado. Matatali ka, magkakaroon ng conflcit sa interest.
Tumanggap ka alam mo galing sa ilegalista, ibang usapan yun, (But if you saw him, he gave you a watch, and you are aware he finances illegal gambling or is a well-known character involved in drugs then why do you have to accept? That’s dangerous. You would be beholden to that person, there would be conflict of interest. You accepted something from an illegal source, that’s a different story),” he said.
Dela Rosa also frowned on the idea of policemen involved in video ‘karera’ operations, despite Duterte’s pronouncement he allows it. According to the lawmaker, he believes the President was only joking when he said that.
“Ilegal ‘yan. ‘Yung sinabi ni Presidente ginawa para pampatawa, (That’s illegal. What the President said was a joke),” he said.
“Laughing stock ang pulis kasi he grew up with the police. Alam niya ang kalokohan ng mga pulis kaya ginagawa niyang joke palagi ang pulis,(He knows they are mischievous that’s why he always makes fun of the police),” he also said.