The Civil Service Commission on Tuesday urged government officials and employees to decline gifts from the public, after President Rodrigo Duterte said that police officers can accept items given out of gratefulness or generosity.
The acceptance of gifts is a "prohibited transaction" except in 3 instances involving foreign governments, said CSC commissioner Aileen Lizada, citing the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Under this law, the 3 exceptions are gifts of nominal value given by foreign governments as a souvenir or mark of courtesy; grants like scholarship or medical treatment; and travel grant, including lodging and transportation allowance, she said.
"Other than that, the giving of gifts under the law is prohibited," she told radio DZMM.
Lizada also cited Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act which prohibits public officials from accepting gifts "even on the occasion of a family celebration or national festivity like Christmas, if the value of the gift is under the circumstances manifestly excessive."
A 1972 decree by then President Ferdinand Marcos also makes it "punishable for public officials to receive and private persons to give gifts on any occasion, including Christmas," she said.
Instead of gifts, the public can give government workers letters of thanks, which become part of their "201 file" used in considering their promotion.
"When you serve, your office should be beyond reproach, beyond suspicion kaya wag na ho kayong tumanggap [ng regalo] (don't accept gifts). Bayad na ho kasi kami (we are already paid) when people file their respective income tax returns," said Lizada.
"Okay na ho sa amin ang 'thank you,'" she added.
(A 'thank you' is enough for us.)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier said police officers can accept gifts of "nominal value" for as long as these are not "excessive."
Sen. Ronald dela Rosa admitted last week that he received gifts when he was still a policeman, saying it was part of Filipino culture.
Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner Greco Belgica meanwhile said in a recent television interview that as much as P100,000 could be “insignificant” for a government employee like him who earns the same amount as his monthly salary.