Cebu airport GM disputes NBI raps
LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) General Manager Steve Dicdican disputed the charges against him and 14 others in connection with a P14.4-billion deal to operate the international airport in Cebu.
In a statement sent to the Inquirer on Saturday, Dicdican said the National Bureau of Investigation was hasty in blaming him for the 25-year concession agreement that was awarded to GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC), the consortium of Megawide Construction Corp. and India-based GMR Group, to develop and operate the airport.
“Had they Googled, they would know that the concession agreement was awarded years before I joined the MCIAA,” Dicdican said, noting that he was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 while the concession agreement was awarded in 2014 under the administration of then-President Benigno Aquino III.
“If they want to blame anyone in government, they are one administration too late,” Dicdican said, adding that the concession agreement itself was upheld by the Supreme Court.
He was referring to the Supreme Court’s decision, dated Jan. 13, 2016, rejecting the consolidated petitions for certiorari and injunction of former Sen. Sergio Osmeña III and the group Business for Progress Movement, represented by its president Medardo Deacosta Jr.
In that ruling, penned by retired Associate Justice Martin Villarama Jr., the high court found nothing illegal in the decision of the then Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to award the contract to the GMR-Megawide Consortium.
The cases were docketed as GR No. 211737 (Osmeña v. Abaya et al.) and GR No. 214756 (Business for Progress Movement v. DOTC, GMCAC).
But on Friday, the NBI sought the criminal indictment of Dicdican and 14 others for allegedly violating the antidummy and corruption laws in connection with the airport management deal.
NBI Director Eric Distor said the respondents “conspired, connived, colluded, schemed and acted together” when they allowed foreign contractors to take over the management of MCIAA.
Distor said NBI investigators found that the airport was being operated and managed by foreigners under an arrangement that was made “with the knowledge and approval of the Filipino officers of MCIAA” and GMCAC.
“Based on the evidence, the MCIA (Mactan-Cebu International Airport) is operated, administered, and managed by non-Filipinos, more particularly by an Irish, a Ghanaian and several Indians who have profound control, enjoyment and control over a Philippine public utility,” the NBI said in its complaint.
“Evidence submitted … and gathered by the investigators showed that the foreign nationals were actually performing executive and managerial positions,” it said.
Aside from Dicdican, other Filipinos respondents in the complaint were GMCAC executives Manuel Louie Ferrer, Edgar Saavedra, Oliver Tan and JZ dela Cruz. Also charged were GMCAC foreign executives Srivinas Bommidala, P. Sripathy, Vivek Singhai, Andrew Acquaah-Harrison, Ravi Bhatnagar, Ravishankar Saravu, Michael Lenane, Sudarshan MD, Kumar Gaurav, Magesh Nambiar, and Rajesh Madan.
Megawide, however, denied the charges and said all its dealings were legal and expressed confidence of being cleared of wrongdoing in any court case.
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