Christmas is supposed to be a time of celebration. That is why we greet each other a “Merry Christmas.” Although it is cannot be established that Christ was indeed born on December as I pointed out in my previous post “Should Christians celebrate Christmas” what is important is that we acknowledge the fact that Christ was born more than 2000 years ago and we celebrate such fact during Christmas.
I am sorry if I will be writing about something that is not so merry this Christmas. I will not be talking about how Christmas has been corrupted by the fact that we have placed more emphasized on Santa and his elves, Frosty the Snow Man or Rudolph (not that any of these are bad) instead of placing Christ in the center of Christmas. I will be talking about the blatant corruption and disregard of our graft and corruption law committed during Christmas time.
No business can exist without doing any kind of transaction with the government. As a business person it is common knowledge in the business community that people from government will try to ask for their “solicitations” or “Christmas gifts” from people in business. Some businesses give really big gifts in cash and in kind to corrupt government officials and employees in the hope that those in government will not give them a hard time whenever they do transactions with them in the future. Some businesses just give “minor” insignificant gifts in kind. (Wine, fruit cake, ham etc.)
Whether the gift is big or small, it does not matter as this is a clear violation of our laws on corruption. The sad thing about this is that it is committed in the “most wonderful time of the year.” Clearly this is one of the corruptions of Christmas time if not the greatest corruption of Christmas.
The Philippines is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. We have so much graft and corruption laws that sometimes I find some of them redundant. However these are needed as corrupt officials will sometimes resort to technicalities in the laws in order to wiggle out if ever the get caught. One of the most beautifully crafted laws on corruption was ironically made by the then President Ferdinand Marcos who himself was accused of blatant corruption. The law I am referring to is Presidential decree No. 46 wherein it is stated that A public official who receives any gift directly or indirectly, when “such gift, present or other valuable thing is given by reason of his official position, regardless of whether or not the same is for past favor or favors or the giver hopes or expects to receive a favor or better treatment in the future from the public official and employee concerned in the discharge of his official functions. Included within the prohibition is the throwing of parties or entertainments in honor of the official and employee or his immediate relatives.”
It is very clear in P.D 46 that people in government should not receive any kind of gift not even a tuxedo which will influence or tend to influence the doing of their duties. I call upon all people in government service not to accept any kind of gifts not only in Christmas time but all through the year no matter how insignificant the gift is. This is in consonance with the spirit of P.D 46 and in the spirit of “delicadeza” to avoid the greatest corruption of Christmas.