Airport authorities dispute Poe exposé | Inquirer News

Airport authorities dispute Poe exposé

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 05:50 AM February 17, 2023

Sen. Grace Poe —Senate PRIB

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said on Thursday that a private aircraft which left Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) on Feb. 13 had submitted the required documents and was cleared by different agencies operating at the airport.

The flight was bound for Dubai via a Dassault Falcon 8X jet, with registry number and callsign N9527E, owned and operated by Hong-Kong based Cloud Nine No. 1 Leasing Co. Ltd.


According to the MIAA, local aircraft ground handler Globan Aviation Corp. obtained the necessary approval for the flight from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police-Aviation Security Group.


The MIAA also noted that all of the passengers “were processed and cleared by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) on site.”

“Notwithstanding these pieces of information, the MIAA shall continue with the probe leaving no stone unturned to dispel insinuations that persons are being brought out of the country surreptitiously without going through mandated predeparture formalities,” it said, noting that an investigation was “in progress,” upon the request of Col. Rhoderick Campo, chief of the PNP-Aviation Security Unit in the National Capital Region (AVSEU-NCR).

Without preflight inspection

According to Campo, the aircraft left Naia at 10:40 p.m. on Feb. 13 carrying six passengers, despite AVSEU-NCR not having conducted its preflight inspection. Eight other passengers were not able to board the plane. Campo, however, insisted that only six passengers were listed in the flight manifest.

“Our personnel were supposed to conduct a pre-flight inspection, but personnel inside the aircraft already closed the aircraft. We have no authority to open the aircraft’s doors,” he said in a TV interview on Wednesday.

Campo also said that the safety and security for flight coordination document had not been signed by the AVSEU inspector although it bore the signature of an official of the MIAA operations office.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said that the passengers and crew of the plane were processed by immigration agents.


“Seven passengers and three crew were listed in the manifest, and all underwent derogatory checks and were compliant [with] immigration formalities. An immigration officer was likewise assigned to attend to and process the passengers in the said aircraft,” he said.

Identities matched

BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval earlier said the jet had a capacity of 10 passengers and the bureau claimed that the identities of the passengers matched the information in the jet’s manifest.

But Sandoval said the bureau would investigate claims that the aircraft did not have proper clearances. “We need to also clarify, because there are other government agencies that give clearances, so maybe the problem came from that aspect,” she said.

The BI spokesperson disclosed that they are coordinating with the PNP regarding the case.

In a privilege speech on Wednesday, Sen. Grace Poe had pressed Naia management to explain how eight undocumented foreigners, whom she described as “Asian-looking,” defied attempts by authorities to prevent their departure on Feb. 13.

“More than just a protocol glitch, the issue digs deeper as it involves national security and human trafficking. We call on the BI to explain how individuals were able to fly out of the county with just a whim of uttered clearance from an immigration officer, without an amendment of the general declaration based on proper procedures,” she said.

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Upon questioning by Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Poe said that Globan was the same flight service company that tried to fly out of the country in November 2021 two executives of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.—siblings Mohit and Twinkle Dargani—ahead of a Senate investigation into an alleged procurement scam involving their company. Law enforcers, however, arrested the two at Davao City airport.

TAGS: airport, Grace Poe, Miaa, NAIA

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