Why did Agriculture Chief Manny Piñol return a Rolex gift?

MANILA, Philippines - December is the season of gift-giving yet Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol has decided to return a luxurious Rolex watch worth P450,000.

Agriculture Chief Manny Piñol return a Rolex gift

Through a lengthy Facebook post, Piñol revealed how he resisted temptation to accept the present from top officials of a big agricultural company.

“It is the season of giving, but sorry we can’t receive,” Piñol wrote in his post.

According to Piñol, he initially didn’t notice the gift as it was stuffed in a bag along with other mementos he received during ceremonial exchange of gift. He finally decided to open the box when he was at his farm in Kidapawan City. To his surprise, the box contained a watch every man dreams of owning: a Rolex submariner.

While he owns an old model of the Rolex given to him by his late friend Bening Urquico, Piñol disclosed that he seldom used it as he was not fond of wearing jewelry.

After finding out the value of the watch through Internet research, Piñol admitted that keeping the watch crossed his mind. But he soon realized that accepting an expensive gift would be a violation of the law.

This prompted him to return the watch to the sender.

“I explained that I could not take the gift because not only because the company is involved in activities which would require the supervision of the Department which I head but also because the law prohibits officials like me from accepting expensive gifts,” Piñol said.

The public servant said that he felt that a huge burden was taken off his back after he was able to return the box to the giver.

In his post, which has amassed over 12,000 shares, Piñol urged government officials to carefully discern which kind of Christmas parents they should accept.

“I know it is Christmas but for us in government, there must be a careful discernment on what kind of Christmas presents we could receive and from whom.”

--Mini, The Summit Express

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