Reward/gift versus bribery
By Al S. Mendoza
GIFT or reward?
Or, what is a gift? What is a reward?
Here’s a police officer’s story to buttress the obvious:
“Sir Al, listen to me,” he tells me.
“OK, fire,” I say to him.
“I rescued a kid from his kidnappers,” says he.
“Great!” I tell him. “Then what?”
“The kid’s father comes to me and tells me, ‘General, here’s one million pesos for you.’”
“How did you react?” I ask the General.
“Why are you giving me this amount?” I ask the kid’s father.
“That’s nothing, General,” the kid’s father tells me.
“How can that be nothing?” I tell the kid’s father. “One million pesos is nothing?”
“General, have you forgotten?” the kid’s father tells me.
“What have I forgotten?” I tell him.
“My son’s kidnappers were asking for a ten million ransom,” he says to me. “What’s one million pesos compared to the nine million pesos that I saved because of you?”
To cut the long story short, the General received the one million pesos.
Now, how would you define the money given to the General?
I’d say both.
The parents did that in recognition of the General’s valiant effort to save the kid’s life.
What is valor but practically priceless.
If ever, the father’s action was to reward the General’s dedication to his job.
That was a gift to one deserving of an effort too heroic enough not to be appreciated.
That said, how would we reconcile reward and gift to bribery?
Can the father’s generosity give a hint of bribing the General?
I ask that in the wake of President Duterte’s take on policemen accepting money or anything in kind while in the performance of their duty.
Some quarters call it accepting a bribe when a policeman receives a gift while doing his job.
Others insist it depends.
I say when a policeman is being offered a gift after a job well done, nothing wrong if he accepts it.
He did not demand for it that’s why it’d be considered above board all the way.
If he refuses it, fine. That’d make him a hero 10 times over.
But I say again that if he does the opposite, anytime that’d be fine, too.
That wouldn’t diminish the luster of his heroism.
What is downright objectionable and despicable even is when you demand a reward/gift before rendering service.
That’s allowing yourself to be bribed, to be corrupted.
When people recognize a Samaritan act and offer pancit and soda in return, that is an act of gratitude—which is all very fine as it is in accordance with real Christian tradition.
Only the generous, the kind-hearted, are capable of expressing gratitude. Very Godly.
As the saying goes, “Gratitude is the highest virtue on Earth.”
Not at all.
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