THE Office of the Ombudsman has ordered Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) general manager Steve Dicdican placed under six-month preventive suspension due to administrative charges of grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
Ombudsman Samuel Martires signed the order last December 16, directing Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to implement the suspension and inform the anti-graft body of action taken within three days.
Dicdican is facing allegations that he has unofficially ceded authority to foreigners to “manage and operate MCIA,” specifically to Andrew Acquaah-Harrison, chief executive advisor at the GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC).
GMCAC, a consortium of Megawide Construction Corp. and GMR Group, won the 25-year concession to build a new MCIA passenger terminal, rehabilitate and expand the existing terminal, and operate and maintain both passenger terminals in April 2014 with a P14.4 billion bid.
The case stemmed from a complaint filed by Quezon City-based lawyer Larry Iguidez who claimed the consortium went beyond the terms of its concession agreement so that it appears that the MCIA “is operated, administered, and managed by foreign nationals.”
Supposedly with Dicdican’s knowledge and consent, the complainant said it is Acquaah-Harrison who has been performing managerial and executive functions at MCIA and “initiates and develops corporate policies,” including those pertaining to airport operations.
“Considering his position as General Manager of MCIAA, and in order 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 same order noted that records appended to the complaint “suggests that the evidence of guilt is strong.”
Administrative offenses of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty, if proven, are punishable by removal from service of the respondent.