Dicdican slams antidummy charge; questions timeliness of NBI case
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The top official of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) slammed the decision of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to file cases against him and 15 others for allegedly violating the antidummy law.
MCIAA General Manager and lawyer Steve Dicdican questioned the timeliness of the NBI’s complaint against him and officials of the GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC), the consortium formed to operate and manage MCIA.
“The NBI complaint was so hastily filed that they did not bother to take time to give me any notice about it nor to do even a modicum of research or just Google for that matter,” Dicdican said.
“If they wanted to blame anyone in the government, they are one administration too late. It begs the question on why the NBI suddenly wanted to file so hastily after all these years and if they are acting on behalf of some other interest,” he added.
NBI has accused Dicdican and GMR officials of conniving to allow foreign contractors to take over the management of the international airport in Cebu.
RELATED STORY: Cebu airport officials face antidummy case
Dicdican defended the concession agreement which MCIAA entered into with GMCAC.
“The award of the Concession Agreement was upheld by no less than the Supreme Court… Had they googled, they would know that the Concession Agreement was awarded to GMCAC years before I joined MCIAA,” he said.
The NBI has sought the criminal indictment on Dicdican and GMCAC executives for allegedly violating the antidummy law in connection with a P14.4-billion deal to operate MCIA.
Also named as respondents in the NBI complaint were local GMCAC executives Manuel Louie Ferrer, Edgar Saavedra, Oliver Tan, and JZ dela Cruz, as well as foreign executives Srivinas Bommidala, P. Sripathy, Vivek Singhai, Andrew Acquaah-Harrison, Ravi Bhatnagar, Ravishankar Saravu, Michael Lenane, Sudarshan MD, Kumar Gaurav, Magesh Nambiar, and Rajesh Madan.
Megawide Construction Corp., in a statement submitted to the local stock exchange last December 2, 2020, stated that they are confident “all pertinent laws, rules, and regulations” were followed in their joint-venture agreement with GMR Infrastructure to operate and upgrade MCIA.
MCIA is the country’s second-busiest gateway, next to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), while GMR Infrastructure is an India-based engineering conglomerate.
An industry source said the NBI complaint was linked to Megawide-GMR’s ongoing bid to rehabilitate and expand NAIA, whose privatization had been questioned by Rep. Jericho Nograles. The congressman had raised concerns about Megawide’s financial capacity.
The company responded by convincing GMR to take a 40-percent equity stake to comply with the government’s requirements. This was formalized through a submission to the Manila International Airport Authority on Nov. 20.
RELATED STORY: MCIA consortium to take over NAIA rehab
Through a proposed 25-year concession, Megawide-GMR plans to add capacity and flights to NAIA, where congestion was worsening before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It also plans to build an elevated railway that will link NAIA’s passenger terminals to each other. / with reports from Philippine Daily Inquirer.
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