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Whistleblower’s battle vs corruption

By Manuel T. Ugalde

LEGAZPI CITY --- Whistleblower Robert Canezal from Masbate City has been enduring the frustration of his plunder complaint spanning three presidencies.

Canezal, an equipment operator at the Masbate Area Equipment Service, initiated the case against 42 officials and employees of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional office in Legazpi City back in 2012.

Despite retirement taking most of the accused, Canezal remains disheartened by the sluggish progress in his case, which he believes exposes the persisting graft and corruption within the Ombudsman's office.

Considering an early retirement, Canezal reflects on his decision to speak out against the rampant corruption within his office. While he stands by his actions, he feels let down by the lack of support from the government's anti-corruption campaign, particularly through the Ombudsman, which he perceives as selective and indifferent to his plight.

Despite providing substantial evidence, including testimonies and documentation, Canezal feels abandoned in his 12-year wait for justice.

Motivated by the government's call for transparency during the Aquino administration's “Tuwid na Daan” campaign, Canezal courageously exposed the corruption he witnessed within his office.

However, despite changes in leadership, including the Duterte administration's promise to tackle corruption, Canezal's case remains stagnant. He took matters into his own hands by filing the plunder case in 2012 after the DPWH neglected to act on their own investigation report.

Canezal's case revolves around various instances of corruption, including the fraudulent reassembly of drilling equipment and misappropriation of equipment spare parts. Despite his efforts, his case has seen little progress, with accused officials retiring without facing consequences.

Canezal's perseverance is evident as he navigates the complexities of legal proceedings without proper assistance, facing pressures to withdraw his complaint and even suspension orders for speaking out against the corruption.

As his case languishes in bureaucratic limbo, Canezal remains determined to see justice served, despite the personal and professional challenges he continues to endure.


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