Groups alarmed by dismissal of MIAA execs due to anonymous complaint
MANILA, Philippines — Several groups expressed their concern over the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman to dismiss Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) chief Cesar Chiong over an anonymous letter by the agency’s officials.
The complainants should be “more forthcoming about their identity” if they are telling the truth, according to a joint statement issued on Monday by the Stratbase Albert Del Rosario Institute, CitizenWatch Philippines, and the Bantay Konsyumer, Kalsada, at Kuryente (BK3).
The groups issued the statement after the Trabaho party-list group called on the public to support Ombudsman Samuel Martires’ decision on Chiong’s case.
“Transparency is a cornerstone of good governance, especially in a long-term, high-impact area such as airport infrastructure,” said Stratbase ADR Institute president Victor Andres Manhit said.
“We hope that there will be a deeper probe into this case based on solid evidence and that the accusers should not hide behind anonymity if their charges have real basis.”
In August, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal of Chiong and assistant general manager Irene Montalbo, who is the MIAA officer in charge, for grave abuse of authority and misconduct.
According to the Ombudsman’s 21-page decision, the dismissal stemmed from the complaint of anonymous MIAA officials about Chiong’s order to reassign about 285 employees without any basis after he assumed office in July last year.
Based on the complainants’ account, Chiong appointed Montalbo as OIC even after the latter’s unsatisfactory rating in the 2020 Office Performance Commitment and Review of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 1.
The groups pointed out that Chiong said that predecessors at MIAA were not subject to any legal issues even though larger numbers of personnel were reassigned.
Commenting on a petition filed by Chiong, the Court of Appeals cited that 646 employees were reassigned by former MIAA general manager Jose Angel Honrado and 397 personnel were also reassigned by Eddie Monreal.
“The anonymity [of the complainants] raises suspicions on the veracity of the complaint. The accusers should not be afraid to reveal their identities if their allegations have a solid basis,” said CitizenWatch Philippines co-convenor Christopher Belmonte.
Earlier, several business groups appealed to the Ombudsman to reverse its decision, as they underscored the “exemplary performance” of Chiong as an MIAA official.
Among the groups were the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc., Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Makati Business Club, IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc., Justice Reform Initiative, Integrity Initiative and Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals.