‘That’s absurd’: PCG says its personnel did not get bananas, ₱50 as bribes
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Wednesday refuted accusations that one of its personnel received bananas and ₱50 cash as “gifts.”
These were the reasons why the ill-fated passenger boat MB Princess Aya was allegedly allowed to sail in Laguna de Bay amid bad weather.
PCG spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo told reporters, “That’s absurd.”
“I do not think our personnel would resort to accepting bananas and fifty pesos in exchange for favors,” he said.
In a Senate hearing on Tuesday, the unlicensed boat captain Donald Anain admitted before senators that he gave these “gifts” to PCG personnel so that his motorbanca would be permitted to leave port.
Anain said go-signal would be given even if there were violations of maritime rules.
These violations were overloading of passengers and the lack of boat license.
The capsizing of MB Princess Aya killed 27 persons.
In giving the side of PCG following Anain’s testimony, Balilo recalled Anain’s response when asked during the hearing if liquors were also used to bribe the PCG personnel.
“The Captain denied giving liquors to our personnel,” he stressed.
“Our personnel also denied demanding any of these items. Wala silang tinatanggap (They did not accept anything),” he said.
The motorbanca overturned about 50 yards off Barangay Kalinawan in Binangonan, Rizal last July 27.
The catastrophe happened as typhoon Egay (international name: Doksuri) induced the southwest monsoon.
This weather systems triggered heavy rains in many parts of Luzon, including the area of the disaster.
The total number of fatalities and survivors surpassed the boat’s maximum capacity of 42 passengers, including the boat captain and two crew members.