MANILA – The Department of Education (DepEd) said Sunday that Senator Manny Pacquiao should not stop at allegations of corruption within the agency alone.
Instead, the presidential candidate must identify the corrupt officials he accused during the Electoral Commission-Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (Comelec-KBP) panel interview aired on Friday.
“To allege wrongdoing, unsupported by specific facts or without naming names, amounts to a false accusation,” DepEd said in a statement.
Pacquiao said the quality of education is not improving due to corruption while DepEd funds are not being used properly.
“Hindi lang po ako nagsasalita, pero alam ko po ang mga nangyayari dyan sa Dep. Ayaw ko lang ibulgar ngayon. Pagdating ng panahon, eh alam ko na kung paano ko halungkatin ‘yan at itutuwid (I’d rather keep my mouth shut for now but I know there’s something going on within DepEd. I just don’t want to divulge it now. The time will come, I’ll know how to dig in and we’ll fix this),” Pacquiao says during the recorded interview.
DepEd said Pacquiao, as a public servant, has “perfect right, legally and morally, to attack and question government wrongdoing and to question any wrongdoing, person or instrument of government d elsewhere in its quest to eradicate corruption. and corruption in the bureaucracy”.
DepEd, however, was unhappy that Pacquiao failed to identify education officials who he says receive commissions amounting to 40% of the cost of projects.
“When asked to identify himself, he refused,” the DepEd said.
DepEd said that as a senator and a candidate for the nation’s highest office, Pacquiao should name names and not rely on generalities to topple the entire institution that is a key part of the election.
“Even though Comelec is the main agency in charge of the electoral process, behind every polling station and canvassing center are teachers and DepEd officials and employees,” the agency said.
With 948,270 teachers in total and more than 27 million learners, the DepEd said condemning the entire educational establishment “is very dangerous and could affect public impressions of the integrity of election results in to come”.
“While there may still be rotten eggs within the organization, Department leadership has seen fit to charge those known individuals and remove those found guilty. Now is not the time to condemn the whole institution,” he added.
The DepEd said Pacquiao has been in office for more than nine years and “cannot claim to be morally blameless if the corruption allegation is true, because complacency is all-consuming.”
“The Good Book commands ‘that one of you who is without sin cast the first stone,'” he added.
If elected, Pacquiao said his administration would prioritize reviewing all government contracts to ensure there were no irregularities.
During the Comelec-KBP interview, Pacquiao pledged to investigate and clean up the internal operations of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Development, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture.
The retired world champion boxer has also previously accused the Department of Energy and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of corruption. (NAP)