General Manager Steve Dicdican, of Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) disputed the charges levelled against him and 14 others by the National Bureau of Investigation in connection with a P14.4-billion deal to operate the international airport in Cebu.
He accused the NBI probe as hasty in blaming him for the 25-year concession agreement with 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, taking into account that he was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 while the concession agreement was awarded in 2014 under the then-administration of President Benigno Aquino III.
“If they want to blame anyone in government, they are one administration too late as the concession agreement itself was upheld by the Supreme Court,” Dicdican said.
He was referring to the Supreme Court’s decision on 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.
Retired Associate Justice Martin Villarama Jr. ruled that 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 which the cases were docketed as GR No. 211737 (Osmeña v. Abaya et al.) and GR No. 214756 (Business for Progress Movement v. DOTC, GMCAC).
The NBI on Friday, Dec. 4 sought the criminal indictment of Dicdican and 14 others for allegedly violating the anti-dummy 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.
PHOTO: JUNJIE MENDOZA