Duterte taunts Robredo: Nation will suffer if you're president

Ruth Abbey Gita

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, September 10, chided Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo for questioning his advice to cops to accept gifts from Filipinos expressing gratitude for their service.

Hitting back at Robredo, Duterte reiterated his previous stance that the Vice President cannot be his successor, as the latter "[does] not even read the book."

He believed that the country would "suffer," should Robredo assume the highest position in the land.

"I quoted the very words, anti-graft and corrupt practices. There is an exemption there. Nominal. I use the word nominal out of gratitude. Alam mo Pilipino, ganoon (That's being practiced by the Filipino)," Duterte said during the oustanding government workers awards rites at Palace's Rizal Hall.

"Hindi naman ako basta mag-ano ng bunganga. Tapos Si Leni talaga, 'kasi illegal at saka unconstitutional.' Hay, sabi ko, ma'am kung ikaw ang presidente ng Pilipinas, patay. You do not even read the book," he added.

(I will not make any pronouncement without thinking. But Leni said it's illegal and unconsitutional. I said, ma'am, if you're the President of the Philippines, the country will suffer. You do not even read the book.)

In a speech delivered on August 9, the President told cops that they can accept gifts, as long as they do not compromise their integrity.

Duterte also vowed not to sanction any policemen who will accept gifts from grateful Filipinos, as it could not be considered as bribery.

Refuting Duterte's pronouncement, Robredo said cops accepting gifts violate Republic Act (RA) 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

RA 6713 forbids public servants from "soliciting or accepting, 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 amy operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the functions of their office."

In his latest speech, the President maintained that police officers can receive a gift as a reward for their hardwork.

"That is the major policy, So magtanggap ka. 'Yun ang policy (Accept gifts. That's the policy)," he said.

"Ngayon, if you are able to solve a crime tapos bigyan ka ng Mercedes Benz, p***** i**, kalokohan na iyan. Ibig sabihin tinakot mo na ang nakidnap na, sabihin mo, 'Ako na ang kikidnap sayo sunod,'" Duterte added.

(Now, if you are able to solve a crime and you receive Mercedes Benz, son of a b****, that's unacceptable. That means you threatened the kidnapped person and tell him that you'll be the one to kidnap him again.)

Malacañang earlier defended Duterte's remarks, as it cited RA 6713, which allows government employees and officials to accept "unsolicited gifts of nominal or insignificant value not given in anticipation of, or in exchange for, a favor." (SunStar Philippines)