Transportation security chief now on leave after resignation call
MANILA, Philippines — Office for Transportation Security (OTS) Administrator Ma.O Aplasca has taken a leave of absence amid the latest controversy involving one of its personnel.
This was revealed when the issue of the security officer accused of stealing $300 from a passenger and swallowing it after was raised at a budget hearing in the Senate on Tuesday.
Aplasca was not present in the hearing but his statement on the resignation call of Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez was read by OTS Deputy Administrator Jose Briones.
“There is a write-up made by Usec. Aplasca during his incumbency, because he’s on leave right now, if I may be permitted to read,” Briones said.
The official did not elaborate but Senator Grace Poe later commented on Aplasca’s decision to take a leave.
“Of course, there’s always command responsibility, so General Aplasca is setting an example that he’s voluntarily taken a leave but it’s good that we continue the investigation so that we know who really is involved,” said Poe, who presided over the hearing on the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) proposed P214,3 billion budget for 2024.
“As mentioned, he (Aplasca) just took over a year ago but some of these employees have been there since like years ago and this individual involved has been there since 2016 and General Aplasca was only appointed last year,” she pointed out.
Notably, Aplasca’s decision to take a leave followed the Speaker’s call for him to resign.
“Mag-resign ka na. Kung hindi ka magsa-submit ng resignation, ako mismo ang magba-block ng approval ng budget ng OTS,” Romualdez said in a statement on Monday.
(You should resign. If you would not submit your resignation, I myself would block the approval of OTS’ budget.)
Briones said Aplasca was “surprised” with Romualdez’s statement.
“I have done nothing wrong but to cleanse our office with corrupt officials. Why am I now being attacked? For going after corrupt officials? I think it should be the other way around,” the OTS head said in the statement read by Briones before the Senate committee.
“The corrupt officials should instead be asked to resign. The case involving stealing of the 300 US dollar bills is still being resolved, mauna pa mawala ‘yung mga nagimbistiga. There must be something wrong somewhere,” Aplasca added.
Aplasca nevertheless said he would take “full responsibility for what OTS does and fails to do.”
He said he would discuss the matter with DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“However, I will not allow anyone to humiliate me and allow any wrong information to thrive because of how unjust it is to the good men and women of OTS who tirelessly dedicate their hard work to serve the public everyday,” Aplasca said.
“And, I stand against this public humiliation for the sake of my family who, in my more than 40 years serving this country, is hurting now more than ever over such insensitive, malicious and personal attacks,” he also said.