Agri Chief returns Rolex Watch gift worth 450K

Agriculture Chief Emmanuel Piñol unexpectedly received a Rolex Watch gift from “a very large agricultural company” which he declined to name.

“It is the season of giving, but sorry, we can’t receive.” Piñol even posted a picture with PhilRice executive director Dr. Sailila Abdula outside the latter’s office door with a sign prohibiting people from giving him gifts.

Rolex watch gift

(c)ABS-CBN News

The Rolex watch gift received by Piñol during a dinner hosted by the executives of “a very large agricultural company” allegedly costs P450,000.00

In his Facebook post, the Agricultural Chief shared how he returned the luxurious Rolex Watch gift.

Piñol wrote he received the gift during a dinner hosted by the executives of “a very large agricultural company” that he declined to name. He said he did not give much importance to the box containing the gift since he often receives small tokens and handicraft items as part of the courtesies during formal meetings and events.

“The one I received recently was just stuffed in a bag along with the other mementos which I usually receive during ceremonial exchange of gifts,” he narrated. It was not until I was in my farm in Kidapawan City, when I decided to open the box and I almost fell off my seat when I saw what was inside the box. It was a Rolex submariner, a watch which almost every man dreams of owning.”

The Rolex watch gift received by the Agri Chief is indeed luxurious which even him admitted that he initially thought of keeping it. “I would be lying if I say that the thought of keeping it did not cross my mind. Who does not like to own a Rolex anyway?” he said.

Thus, the Agri Chief checked the price of the new Rolex online and found that it costs about P450,000. But he decided to return the gift because doing otherwise is illegal.

“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,” he said. I added that I could go to jail if I was found to have kept the watch or accepted expensive gifts from people with interests in the Dept. of Agriculture.”

After turning over the watch to the giver, Piñol said: “I felt as if a huge burden was taken off my back. “Now, I can look at anybody straight in the eye and tell them that I am following President Rody Duterte’s directive that members of his Cabinet must not be linked to any act of corruption,” he added.

Meanwhile, Piñol also shared that back in 1995, a friend gave him a Rolex Oyster Perpetual before he entered politics. He said he seldom uses the watch that is now “so old that it spends more time in the repair shop than on my wrist.”

With his act of returning the Rolex watch gift, the Agriculture chief also urged his fellow public officials to carefully discern the gifts they would receive this Christmas.

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