By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo continues to take a firm stand against government officials and employees accepting gifts despite the latest tirades hurled by President Rodrigo Duterte against her.
Speaking on her Sunday radio show, Robredo insisted that accepting gifts was illegal, citing again the anti-graft laws that clearly prohibit all public officials from accepting gifts.
The Vice President was referring to Section 7 of Republic Act. No. 6713 or the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.”
This section stated: “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 or in connection with any operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the functions of their office.”
Proving her claim, Robredo also cited the Revised Penal Code and Presidential Decree that regulate that act or practice of gift-giving to public officials.
“Very specific iyong batas. Iyong wording niya para hindi nagli-lead ng any doubt na bawal talaga (The law is very specific. The wording does not lead to any doubts it’s is prohibited),” she said.
“Iyong sa akin, ewan ko lang anong libro ‘yung hindi ko nabasa (For me, I don’t now which book I was not able to read),” Robredo added.
The 54-year-old opposition leader was responding to Duterte’s verbal attacks on her that she did not read and understand the law for criticizing him over his remark that officials may accept gifts given to them out of gratitude.
In his speech Tuesday in Malacañang, Duterte said the Philippines would be “dead” if Robredo became the president.
“I quoted the very words [of the] anti-graft and corrupt practices [act]. There is an exemption, nominal, and I use the word nominal and out of gratitude. I just don’t talk without basis,” he said.
The Chief Executive went on: “Then Leni said, ‘It’s illegal and unconstitutional.’”
“If she can vouch [for] your integrity and talent, I’d gladly—if you want, I will appoint you all as vice president,” Duterte added.