Skip to content

On “Glamorizing” Issues And The Law On Gifts To Public Officials

August 11, 2009

REMONDE GMA PDI MONTAGE

I am beginning to realize that the late Senator Genaro ‘Gene’ Magsaysay was not entirely wrong about his policy which went something like “less talk, less mistake; therefore no talk, no mistake.”

This came to mind while this writer was ruminating about the ‘Le Cirque Simple Dinner Episode’ continues to play out with Malacanang roiling over how “a blog started this controversy.”

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde:

If it were (dinner) ostentatious, we should really apologize but it really wasn’t ostentatious and we stand by that.

We will not glamorize this issue any further.

One, it will impolite for the First Couple to inquire where they will be dining and what will food they will given by the one who invited them.

It would also be impolite for the First Couple to turn down an invitation graciously made by a distinguished congressman like Martin Romualdez.”

The blog speculated what could have been ordered by the entourage and in the process suggested that it could have included expensive champagne and caviar.

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=495005&publicationSubCategoryId=63

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20090811-219687/Palace-wont-say-sorry

I think what Filipinos need to know to put an end, nay, kill any and all further “gross exaggeration” is for Rep. Romualdez to come clean and show us the actual bill from Le Cirque and whether or his architect brother did pay for the “simple dinnar.”

While the good lawmaker from Leyte considers his options, I’ll just share the following:

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 3019
ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT

Sec. 2.
(c) “Receiving any gift” includes the act of accepting directly or indirectly a gift from a person other than a member of the public officer’s immediate family, in behalf of himself or of any member of his family or relative within the fourth civil degree, either by consanguinity or affinity, 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.
Sec. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers.
(b) Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share, percentage, or benefit, for himself or for any other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between the Government and any other part, wherein the public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the law.

Section 1(f), Rule X of the Rules Implementing the Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees provides:
“In addition to the grounds for administrative disciplinary action prescribed under existing laws, the acts and omissions of any official or employee, whether or not he holds office or employment in a casual, temporary, hold-over, permanent or regular capacity, declared unlawful or prohibited by the Code, shall constitute grounds for administrative disciplinary action, and without prejudice to criminal and civil liabilities provided herein, such as:

xxxx                      xxx                      xxx

(f)    Soliciting or accepting, directly or indirectly, any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan or anything of monetary value which in the course of his official duties or in connection with any operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the functions of, his office. The propriety or impropriety of the foregoing shall be determined by its value, kinship or relationship between giver and receiver and the motivation. A thing or monetary value is one which is evidently or manifestly excessive by its very nature.

There is also:

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6713

Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees

Violation of the Rule of Law

1. Receiving any gift” includes the act of accepting directly or indirectly, a gift from a person other than a member of his family or relative as defined in this Act, even on the occasion of a family celebration or national festivity like Christmas, if the value of the gift is neither nominal nor insignificant.

2. Simple living. — Public officials and employees and their families shall lead modest lives appropriate to their positions and income. They shall not indulge in extravagant or ostentatious display of wealth in any form.

3. Solicitation or acceptance of gifts. — 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.

Exemption: As to gifts or grants from foreign governments, the Congress consents to:

(i) The acceptance and retention by a public official or employee of a gift of nominal value tendered and received as a souvenir or mark of courtesy;
(ii) The acceptance by a public official or employee of a gift in the nature of a scholarship or fellowship grant or medical treatment; or

(iii) The acceptance by a public official or employee of travel grants or expenses for travel taking place entirely outside the Philippine (such as allowances, transportation, food, and lodging) of more than nominal value if such acceptance is appropriate or consistent with the interests of the Philippines, and permitted by the head of office, branch or agency to which he belongs.

This writer consulted a lawyer with experience in handle graft cases.

His reply :

“The amount considered excessive under the law is reckoned at Php 3,000.”

Postscript:

Manuel Buencamino, blogging in ‘Life In Gloria’s Enchanted Kingdom’, has this biting insight about how Malacanang’s press office is handling the controversy:

http://www.uniffors.com/?p=2734

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: