MANILA – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Sunday said Senator Manny Pacquiao must not stop with just allegations of corruption in the agency.

Instead, the presidential candidate must identify the corrupt officials he accused during the Commission on Elections-Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (Comelec-KBP) panel interview aired Friday.

“To allege wrongdoing, unsupported by specific facts or without naming names, is tantamount to false accusation,” the DepEd said in a statement.

Pacquiao said the quality of education is not improving due to corruption while DepEd funds are not properly utilized.

“Hindi lang po ako nagsasalita, pero alam ko po ang mga nangyayari dyan sa DepEd. Ayaw ko lang ibulgar ngayon. Pagdating ng panahon, eh alam ko na kung paano ko halungkatin ‘yan at itutuwid (I prefer to be quiet for now but I know that there is something happening within DepEd. I just don’t want to divulge it now. Time will come, I know how to dig into it and we will correct that),” Pacquiao said during the taped interview.

DepEd said Pacquiao, as a public servant, has “every right, legally and morally, to assail and question the wrongdoings in the government and put to question whatever wrongdoing, any person or instrumentality of the government for that matter in his quest to eradicate graft and corruption in the bureaucracy”.

DepEd was displeased though that Pacquiao did not identify the education officials whom he alleged receive commissions amounting to 40 percent of the projects’ cost.

“When asked to identify, he demurred,” the DepEd said.

DepEd said that as a senator and a candidate for the highest office in the land, Pacquiao should name names and not rely on generalities to put down the whole institution which is a key part of the elections.

“Even as the Comelec is the foremost agency tasked with the electoral process, behind every polling precinct and canvassing center are teachers and DepEd officials and employees,” the agency stated.

With 948,270 teaching personnel in total and more than 27 million learners, the DepEd said condemning the entire educational institution “is very dangerous and might affect public impressions of the integrity of the upcoming electoral results”.

“While there might still be bad eggs within the organization, the leadership of the Department has seen fit to charge these known implicated and remove those found guilty. It is not, therefore, the time to condemn the whole institution,” it added.

The DepEd said Pacquiao has been in office for more than nine years and “cannot claim to be morally blameless if the allegation of corruption is true, as self-righteousness is consuming”.

“The Good Book instructs “let any one of you who is without sin cast the first stone,” it added.

If elected, Pacquiao said his administration will prioritize the review of all government contracts to ensure there are no irregularities.

During the Comelec-KBP interview, Pacquiao vowed to investigate and cleanse the internal operations of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, and Department of Agriculture.

The retired world champion boxer also previously accused the Department of Energy and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of corruption. (PNA)