“The Office of the Ombudsman had come up with a resolution early on.”
Last week, I wrote about the series of misfortunes wreaking havoc on construction company Megawide. This came after the Department of Justice filed Anti-Dummy cases against officials of the GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation or GMCAC led by its Chairman Edgar Saavedra. This sent Megawide shares to a deep plunge.
Following the DoJ indictment, Megawide stocks dropped by 11 percent. Just as the price started to recover, a report came out that the Office of the Ombudsman issued a resolution finding probable cause to file graft charges against the same officials. This forced another 3.6 percent plunge on its stocks as of last Wednesday.
Strangely, documents obtained about the Ombudsman case showed the anti-graft body had issued the resolution as early as July 20, 2021, and it was signed and approved by Ombudsman Samuel Martires last August 24.
Why the media did not get wind of this story was a puzzle, but I will not be surprised if someone tried its best to suppress the release of the resolution to the media.
In its 33-page decision, the Ombudsman said that there is probable cause to indict Saavedra along with Megawide executive director Manuel Louie Ferrer, GMCAC general manager and CEO Steve Dicdican, and 13 other MCIAA officers and directors for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices.
Also charged were Oliver Tan (director), JZ Dela Cruz (director), Srinivas Bommidala (chairman), P. Sripathy (director), Vivek Singhai (director), Andrew Acquaah-Harrison (chief executive advisor), Ravi Bhatnagar (chief financial advisor) Ravishankar Saravu (chief commercial advisor), Michael Lenane (COO), Sudarshan MD, alias Sudarshan Madhav Doddathota (deputy chief commercial advisor), Kumar Gaurav (division chief/manager), Magesh Nambiar, alias Magesh Perayil Kanneth (finance department head) and Ragesh Madan (finance department head).
Under Section 3(e) of RA 3019 it is unlawful to cause “any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.”
The Ombudsman also found Dicdican guilty of gross negligence for allowing foreign nationals to act as executive officers of the Mactan Cebu International Airport or the MCIA and was suspended for six months in December 2020, with a one-year suspension without pay.
“Respondents acted with a common purpose and intention to allow foreigners to manage and operate MCIA…The board of directors of GMCAC namely Bommidala, Sripathy, Singhai, Dela Cruz, Tan, Ferrer, and Saavedra…willfully handed the management and operation of GMCAC, and in effect MCIA to foreign nationals by employing foreigners to material functions in GMCAC in violation of the Anti-Dummy Law,” the Ombudsman said.
The joint resolution was signed in July by a three-member special panel led by Acting Assistant Ombudsman Moreno Generoso with prosecutor officers Frima Kristine Franco-Ilao and Maria Vida G. Hechanova as members.
And from what I heard, the DoJ and Ombudsman cases may lead to the issuance of warrants of arrest and the deportation of the foreign nationals who were part of the Megawide indictment.