The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on Thursday filed criminal and administrative charges against two of its employees and two others from a private aviation company in connection with allegedly fraudulent inspections conducted on the plane that crashed killing Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
CAAP lawyer and corporate executive officer Abdiel Dan Fajardo filed in the Office of the Ombudsman cases of falsification of public documents, gross misconduct and violation of Republic Act No. 9497, or the Civil Aviation Authority Act of 2008, against CAAP employee Fernando Abalos and private respondents Nelson Napata and Federico Omolon of Aviatour’s Flyin’ Inc.
Abalos, a CAAP airworthiness inspector, was found to have issued the certificate of airworthiness for the Piper Seneca that crashed and sank off Masbate on Aug. 18, 2012, killing Robredo and two others.
The plane, owned and operated by Aviatour, was piloted by Capt. Jessup Bahinting with Kshitiz Chand as copilot. A fourth passenger, Robredo’s aide Senior Insp. June Abrazado, was the only survivor.
In a statement, CAAP said its investigation showed the plane’s certificate of airworthiness was issued on the basis of “fraudulent” certifications allegedly signed by Abalos as procured by the private respondents.
The CAAP accused Abalos of falsely certifying that a test flight was conducted on Jan. 7, 2012, in Mactan, Cebu, to check the airworthiness of the aircraft, when in actuality there was never such a flight.
The Mactan Flight Service Station (MFSS) certified that no flight plan was filed for the plane while the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) certified that no landing or takeoff fees were billed to or paid for by Aviatour on that day.
A separate complaint was lodged by CAAP against check pilot examiner Nomer Christopher Lazaro for falsification of public documents, perjury and violation of RA 9497, as well as an administrative complaint for gross misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the service.