AS AN officer of the court, I refused to accept “gifts” which comes as tokens of gratitude for a successful mediation. As a mediator, a neutral party who has absolutely no power to pass judgment at any rate, I avoid being perceived as on the take.
I politely refuse dinners of any of my parties. The only time I accepted is to inform my supervisor of the invitation.
The Philippine Mediation Center passed a memo to all PMC units reminding mediators that we should refuse tokens, gratuities, or gifts easily perceived as briberies.
As a Catholic Christian, I harken to Deuteronomy 16:19: “You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.” Amen.
I am happy that the Philippine National Police flatly refused to accept President Duterte’s advice to disobey Republic Act No. 6713. In a press statement, the police force “remains to be bound by rules that govern our conduct under any given situation.”
Recently, President Rodrigo Duterte believes that if cops are given money, even in amounts that are not allowed by law, they should accept it as long as it came from the contributor’s “generosity.”
Social media lambasted Duterte who gave the go-signal to accept tokens, gratuities, and gifts: “Hindi ko kayo iipitin, basta ‘pag bigyan kayo eh tanggapin ‘nyo. It is not bribery...it cannot be bribery because it is allowed by law. What I mean, if there is generosity in them, sabi ng anti-graft [law] you cannot accept gifts? Kalokohan.”
Thank you, PNP who said in the press statement, “We always explain to the public that there is no need for them to give gifts as we are just doing our job and we get paid by the Filipino people through our salaries.”
Admittedly, there will always be corruption in the ranks anywhere in the world. But no society will condone any of these acts.
Writer Gore Vidal wrote that “Our form of democracy is bribery, on the highest scale.”
But as Oscar Wilde said, “All of us are in the gutter, but some are looking at the stars.” I prefer staring at the stars.