MalacaƱang insisted that there is no irregular on the remarks of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte before police officers at the 118th anniversary celebration of the Philippine National Police (PNP) where he said that there is no problem accepting gifts from generous and grateful benefactors.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after Civil Service Commission Commissioner Aileen Lizada cited Republic Acts 6713 and 3019 or Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act on public officials’ accepting gifts while Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson warned that this may lead to “insatiable greed” among cops.

Quoting the same law, Panelo said that “unsolicited gifts or presents of small or insignificant value offered or given as a mere ordinary token of gratitude or friendship according to local customs or usage,” is an exemption from the anti-graft provisions.

Panelo further asserted that “unsolicited gifts of nominal or insignificant value not given in anticipation of, or in exchange for, a favor from a public official or employee is likewise an exemption under Republic Act No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

The Palace official also added that Duterte, unlike other politicians, is a lawyer by profession and training, thus he knows these exemptions are envisioned by the law and is therefore precisely referring to the same during the event.

“The giving of the gift is simply an appreciation by a thankful community for a job well done performed by the law enforcers whose lives flirt with death every time they step out of their homes.”