Suspended DOTr-CAR official creates trouble in NAIA

BAGUIO CITY – An embattled and suspended official of the Cordillera office of the Department of Transportation (DOTr-CAR) continues to be in hot water after allegedly creating trouble at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 last May 12, 2018.

Based on a document obtained by Herald Express from NAIA authorities, Civil Aeronautics Board Executive Director Carmelo L. Arcinna accused suspended DOTr-CAR assistant regional director Mahammad Nasser Abbas of having allegedly committed acts that do not demonstrate courtesy and civility with fellow public servants and the public in violation of the Constitution and pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees.

Arcinna transmitted the memorandum containing the alleged unlawful acts of Abbas to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade. For information and further needed action.

Based on the consolidated incident report involving Abbas and the CAB Passenger Rights Actions officers (PRAOs), the suspended DOTr-CAR officials was a confirmed passenger of Cebu Pacific flight 5J385 bound for Cagayan de Oro which was scheduled to depart on May 12, 2018 at 7:15 pm.

At around 5:30 am of his flight date, Abbas was already at the NAIA terminal 3 check in counter and met a passenger named Glenda P. Biliran, who missed her flight and whom he accompanied to the PRAO desk for help.

The report added that ‘Abbas introduced himself as Director 3 of DOTr-CAR. Mr. Mikko Faustino, one of the PRAOs on duty at that time, accompanied Abbas and Biliran to the Cebu Pacific counter to raise the latter’s concern.’

As Biliran missed her flight, the report added ‘the Cebu Pacific personnel at the check in counter put her on the stand by list for the next available flight at 7:10 am.’

While at the PRAO desk, the report claimed ‘Abbas requested Ms. Krystal Rivas, who was also on duty at the PRAO desk, together with Reginald Neri, for assistance so he could be accommodated and prioritized by the airline in the next available flight. Rivas explained the procedure for inclusion in the stand by desk and that there is no assurance that he could be accommodated.’

At this juncture, ‘Abbas insisted that he should be accommodated and prioritized as he is an official of the Department of transportation.’

However, Rivas and Neri accompanied him to the Cebu Pacific counter to inquire if he could be prioritized in the standby list but his request was not granted by the airline which allegedly enraged him and caused him to threaten Cebu Pacific’s employees that they could lose their jobs.

The report stated that ‘he began to invoke his position as Director of DOTr-CAR, that he is a presidential appointee, and that the matter will be forwarded to Secretary Arthur P. Tugade of the DOTr with whom he had a meeting the day before.’

The report disclosed that at around 9 am, ‘Abbas returned to the PRAD desk with one passenger, John Arthur Pastor, asking for 3 complaint forms for 3 other passengers. Krystalene dela Vega explained that the procedure is for the PRAOs to interview the complainants. Abbas scolded dela Vega and accused the PRAOs of failing to take action on passenger concerns, which he claimed to be the reason for all the complaints and problems of passengers in the airport.’

While Pastor was filling out the complaint form, the report claimed that Jennifer Hernandez, Joyce Formentera and Marie Therese Abaya inquired with Pastro about the details of the complaint in an effort to resolve it on site but ‘Abbas, in a rowdy manner, ordered the PRAOs to leave the passenger alone and accused them of bias towards the airline, threatening that the matter will be forwarded to Secretary Tugade, saying again that they were together the day before.’

The reported narrated that at around 11 am, Abbas, together with a personnel of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) named Jose Agustin went to the booth to get the names of the PRAOs on duty.

The report asserted that ‘sad to say, Abbas demonstrated behaviour unbecoming of a public official in accusing, without basis, PRAOs of not addressing passenger concerns and bias towards the airline concerned and that his acts of invoking his position as an appointee of the President and as such should be accommodated by the airline and even dragging the name of the Secretary of the DOTr are not in keeping with proper decorum expected from a public official.

The report stipulated that at around 4:03 pm, Abbas posted in his facebook account that his flight was ‘super delayed’ when in fact his flight was scheduled 7:15 pm, thus, his claim that his flight was delayed is clearly unfounded and is considered a form of dishonesty that reflects on his fitness to continue in office as well as implies a disposition to lie; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of honesty, probity or integrity and principle; and lack of fairness and straightforwardness, considering that he is an employee of the DOTr.

The report that such a post may create perceptions that may even affect the agencies related to airport activities and operations which some of them are under the DOTr.

“It is worthy to emphasize that airlines under regulation should find ways to solve any problem brought about by their own doing simply because they are the one providing the service. The government, through CAB, monitors their compliance and assist passengers if circumstances so warrant. It is morally wrong to insight people to complain against airlines if there is no necessity to do that. We are regulators not prosecutors. We serve the public by striking a balance between the interest of the flying public and that of the industry,” Arcinna stressed.



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