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Rough Cuts | Zozobrado’s proposed ordinance

There is so much buzz created by the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte that as far as he is concerned there is nothing wrong with policemen accepting gifts from citizens who feel they want to reward cops for jobs well done. The President though made it clear that the gift the police may accept is clearly not those given to get special favor such as influencing results of investigation or for policemen to allow continuation of illegal activities or trade. The value should not also be considered as expensive.
Immediately the Civil Service Commission (CSC) through the President’s own appointee Aileen Lizada was quick to remind policemen that accepting and soliciting gifts by government officials, policemen included, is strictly prohibited by an existing law.

Vice President Leni Robredo pitched in her own view on the issue invoking the same law referred to by CSC’s Lizada.

Then came the admissions of no less than former PNP Chief and now senator Ronald dela Rosa that he had accepted gifts of lechon and other food items during special police occasions. This was followed by incumbent PNP chief Oscar Albayalde who said he too, accepted some items including food. Of course none of the two talked about having taken expensive gifts like luxurious watches or cars. Neither did they display item brands that could betray their dishonesty. The two police top guns are very much unlike a Customs official who claimed of honesty in the performance of duty at the height of the Bureau’s corruption prominence issue, but was conspicuously wearing an over a million peso worth of Rolex watch.

Well, we can congratulate the two top cops of the country for being honest about their having accepted gifts at one time or another. That in itself is honesty.

But we know of one former top policeman who is now also a leading legislator who refused to be enticed by millions of pesos in cash that was offered as reward for his having rescued a scion of a multi-millionaire Cabu-based retail magnate who was kidnapped several years ago. At that time the former top cop was the PNP Cebu City director.

An uncle of the scion who runs several malls in Davao City and nearby cities and provinces in Mindanao, told us that then PNP Cebu City chief and now senator Panfilo Lacson left no stones unturned in running after the kidnappers of the retail magnate’s son who, during that time, was still in the elementary grade. The kidnappers were arrested and Lacson’s men rescued the wealthy scion without any injury.
The scion’s uncle who has been a close friend of ours disclosed that the victim’s family was ready with a multi-million peso ransom money when the arrest of the kidnappers and the subsequent rescue were made by Lacson’s operatives.

The uncle told us that the victim’s family decided to give the money intended for ransom as reward to Lacson and his operatives. But the former police chief turned the offer down. He said Lacson told the victim’s family and relatives that mere “thank you” was more than enough for him.

Such tale of honesty in service these days are easily considered fiction and far from truth. But that story told us by one who belongs to a family of businessmen who have succeeded through hard work is definitely not fiction.

But Lacson, despite the noise brought about by the issue, has not mentioned even a single word about his brush with that opportunity of getting a hefty amount as reward or “gift” if you want to call it that way.

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Again we take our hat off Davao City’s third district councilor Jesus Joseph Zozobrado for introducing a proposed ordinance that, if passed by the local legislative body and signed by the City Mayor, will most likely reduce the number of deadly road accidents in the city.

Zozobrado’s proposed ordinance mandates that motorbike riders shall wear, in addition to helmets, vest with reflectorized colors. Riders, according to the councilor’s proposal, shall refer to the motorbike drivers and their backriders.

We strongly agree with the proponent that making the wearing of reflectorized vest would reduce the number of road accidents involving motorbikes especially those that happen during night time.

The third district councilor’s proposal, once it becomes an ordinance, may entail additional expenses on the part of the motorbike drivers and passengers. But the expense will be only minimal and one time.

Moreover, unlike other grandly titled ordinances, the Zozobrado proposal would be easy to implement. Its compliance is also easy to monitor. And violators would not be difficult to trace and locate.

Again our congratulations to one of the Sanggunian’s most productive members.

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