Manny Piñol is making Cotabateños proud.

In his Facebook post on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, Piñol admitted that he received a very expensive Christmas gift - a rolex watch which he later found out to be worth at least P450,000. The former provincial governor of Cotabato and now secretary of the Department of Agriculture returned it to the sender.

Below is his Facebook post which  already became viral..
Manny Piñol returned P450 thousand worth rolex given to him as Christmas gift

I love Rolex watches, but...

By Manny Piñol

Very recently, I received a small box of gift during a dinner tendered by top officials of a very large agricultural company.

I really did not give it much importance because the giving of mementos is part of the tradition among officials at our level, especially when we have engagements with diplomats.

The Department of Agriculture, for example, always has a box of gift for every ambassador who calls on me in the office and this contains handicraft items.

There is always an exchange of presents during formal meetings, especially during calls on top officials of foreign agencies as part of the courtesies.

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.

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.

I actually own an old model the Rolex Oyster Perpetual given to me by a late friend, Bening Urquico, before I entered politics in 1995 but I seldom use it because I am not fond of wearing jewellery.

Besides, it is so old that it spends more time in the repair shop than on my wrist.

When I checked its price in the internet, I found out that the watch had a value of about P450,000 and 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?

However, the realization that accepting such an expensive gift would be a violation of the law made me decide to return it to the sender but I did so respectfully.

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.

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.

Maybe, if it came from one of my brothers or my children, I would have gladly kept the gift.

When I turned over the box to the giver, whose identity I will not divulge anymore, 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.

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.

Merry Christmas and may God bless us all.