4 CAAP officials face raps for plane crash
- Aie Balagtas See, Rainier Allan Ronda () - December 21, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) director general Ramon Gutierrez and three other CAAP officials were charged with graft before the Office of the Ombudsman Monday for the light plane crash that killed 14 people in Parañaque City last Dec. 10.

Cesar Lucero, a CAAP special investigator on floating status, filed a complaint of graft and “gross neglect of duty resulting in multiple deaths and destruction not only of several private but also government properties” against Gutierrez; Flight Standards Inspectorate Service officer-in-charge Elmer Peña; FSIS airworthiness department head Ariel Concepcion and senior safety inspector Hilario Cabugon, who inspected the ill-fated Beechcraft Queen Air eight-seater plane that crashed in Parañaque City two Saturdays ago.

Lucero said the four CAAP officials and officers should be taken to task and charged as “principals by indispensable participation” for their part in allowing an aircraft found to have no insurance coverage and no serial numbers in one of its engines to take off.

“After the accident, it was discovered that said aircraft was operated without a valid Air Operators Certificate for them to engage in commercial flights,” Lucero said.

The serial number of an aircraft allows the CAAP to know an engine’s age and history.

Aircraft registered with the CAAP are required to have insurance coverage for the aircraft, its flight crew, and third party liability.

Meanwhile, the Parañaque City government’s legal team and a representative of the owner of the ill-fated plane finally met to discuss the latter’s liabilities.

Mayor Florencio Bernabe Jr. told The STAR that among the issues they discussed with lawyer Jeffrey Zarate on Monday morning are the medical and burial expenses of the victims.

Zarate represents former commercial plane pilot Fidel Hembrador, owner of the ill-fated cargo plane.

The tragedy also burned down the houses of at least 60 families and sent 20 residents to the hospital. As of Monday morning, Bernabe said the hospitalization bill of those wounded has already reached P600,000.

They also discussed during the briefing the cost of construction materials needed to rebuild the charred shanties and the amount of the damaged F. Serrano Elementary School. Bernabe said they also told Zarate that the original construction cost of the elementary building is pegged at P40 million.

The expenditure is on top of the expenses needed to provide relief operations to the evacuees who are currently housed in the barangay’s covered court.

Bernabe said during the meeting, Zarate asked which of the liabilities should they prioritize. The mayor said it should be “medical expenses.” He said they have yet to come up with final agreements and are set to meet again.

AIR OPERATORS CERTIFICATE ARIEL CONCEPCION AS OF MONDAY BEECHCRAFT QUEEN AIR BERNABE CESAR LUCERO CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF THE PHILIPPINES ELMER PE FIDEL HEMBRADOR FLIGHT STANDARDS INSPECTORATE SERVICE ZARATE
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