THE Office of the Ombudsman has filed graft charges against a former official of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) for allegedly using his authority to issue a certificate to operate and changing the unfavorable test results of two pilots.
In two separate charge sheets, graft investigators indicted Daniel Dimagiba, former deputy director general for operations of CAAP for issuing an operating certificate to One Sky Aviation Services Inc. (Osasi) and favoring two pilots who failed flight tests.
Records showed that Dimagiba allowed the issuance of air carrier operating certificate to Osasi despite its failure to get a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Civil Aviation Board.
The Ombudsman said Dimagiba is not authorized to issue the operating certificate since he is only a deputy. It is only the director general who has the sole power to issue the document.
In his counter-affidavit, Dimagiba admitted that he issued the operating certificate but he denied any liability claiming that signing the certificate was a ministerial duty since the Aviation Safety Division prepared the document before it landed in his office.
Prosecutors however maintained that Dimagiba’s issuance of the certificate “is questionable” since at that time, complainant Ruben Ciron, the CAAP director general, already assumed office.
In the second graft charge, the anti-graft body said Dimagiba reversed the failing marks of captains Saturnino dela Cruz and Jayfred Basawil, who underwent flight tests in July 2008 under the supervision of captains Ismael Lapus Jr. and Andrew Florentino, respectively.
Prosecutors alleged that Dimagiba “directly” asked Lapus and Florentino to change the grades of the two pilots.
In his defense, Dimagiba said that Lapus and Florentino were “strikers at the Philippine Airlines and that they were trouble makers.”
John Constantine G. Cordon