Thursday, February 21, 2008


Under the Graft and Corrupt Practices Law, government officers and employees are prohibited from accepting any gifts, regardless of the value. In other words, the prohibition is ABSOLUTE.

This prohibition runs counter, however, to the Asian culture known as GUANXI. As explained by an internationally credible strategic forecasting outfit, one's relationship obligations require that "gifts" be provided in return for certain favors. In China, for example, this practice is quite acceptable under "guanxi". Not only is this considered ethical but the Chinese legal system would have trouble seeing this action as violating the law of China.It is culturally understood that the written law - like Anglo-American common laws- makes room for guanxi.

"GUANXI CULTURE" seems to be acceptable in our jurisdiction too, despite the clear prohibition in our law, particularly the prohibition involving government officers and employees.

Granting that "guanxi" culture is now part of our culture, what are the limits of gift giving? Will P50,000 or even P500,000 be an acceptable limit under guanxi?

Our lawmakers need to re-examine this particular afore cited provision of the law, to clearly define the limits of this "guanxi" culture.

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