The allegation of extortion at the Department of Education’s division office in Palawan made recently by at least two potential whistleblowers against certain officials merits attention not only from higher offices of the department that are reportedly already conducting an internal probe but also from the provincial government as well.

One case involves a teacher who came out to claim that certain officials from the division office had demanded from her a sum of ₱30,000 in exchange for the approval of her application for a transfer to her municipality. Another had come out, claiming that the same official named in the first case had demanded ₱50,000 from her in exchange for the approval of her application for a teaching post.

These allegations, if proven to be true, could be one instance where commonplace accusations of corruption in various government offices can be prosecuted. The emergence of whistleblowers against the DepEd Division Office should embolden others who may have been victims of similar circumstances in the past to come out and trigger actions that should clean up the office and encourage confidence from the public at large.

An independent probe from the provincial government should at least exert political pressure on the Department of Education to clean up its ranks in Palawan.

The swift and decisive resolution of these two cases could be a milestone in addressing petty corruption in government offices and hopefully serve as a disincentive for others who are committing similar offenses.

In the universe of corruption scandals in government offices, these publicized cases pale in comparison to those involving millions of pesos and implicating multiple suspects and high-ranking government officials. The provincial government may reflect on the truth that even within their own offices, there are bigger cases of graft and corruption that remain unresolved, including, for instance, the notorious Malampaya-funded projects under the previous administrations.

The failure of the government to address corruption at large has already bred a culture of tolerance and impunity inside the bureaucracy. A quick and decisive resolution of the DepEd controversy should be refreshing news for a change and should deserve public jubilation.