Ombudsman suspends Mactan airport manager

The Office of the Ombudsman ordered a six-month preventive suspension to Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) general manager Steve Dicdican over gross neglect of duty, administrative charges of grave misconduct, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

In an order signed December 16, Ombudsman Samuel Martires ordered Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to impose the suspension and inform the Ombudsman of the action agency has taken within three days.

Dicdican is accused of unofficially giving authority to foreigners to “manage and operate MCIA,” specifically to Andrew Acquaah-Harrison, chief executive advisor at the GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC).

The Mactan airport manager was charged with graft, grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, and conduct prejudicial to the service’s best interest over the MCIAA’s award of a 25-year concession deal to GMCAC.

GMCAC won the bid to operate and manage MCIA for P14.4 billion.

Quezon City-based lawyer Larry Iguidez who filed a complaint against Dicdican, claimed the deal was beyond its concession agreement terms so that it appears that the MCIA “is operated, administered, and managed by foreign nationals.”

Ombudsman suspends Mactan airport manager

Iguidez claimed that Acquaah-Harrison, with Dicdican’s knowledge and consent, has been executive and managerial functions at MCIA and “initiates and develops corporate policies,” including airport operations.

The complainant also claimed Irish Michael Lenane, chief operations officer, and Indian Ravishankar Saravu, the chief commercial advisor, were exercising control over the consortium in violation of the 1987 Constitution and the Anti-Dummy Law.

“Considering his position as General Manager of MCIAA, and to prevent any possible tampering of evidence, harassment of witnesses, interference or exercise of influence by Dicdican, and/or withholding or concealment of pertinent records or documents, this Office funds justification to place respondent under preventive suspension pending investigation of this complaint,” the Ombudsman said.

The suspension order also noted that records appended to the complaint “suggests that the evidence of guilt is strong.”

Officials found guilty of administrative offenses of grave misconduct, and gross neglect of duty would be removed from service.