Commuters' group calls on CAAP to forgo internal probe on New Year mess

Raffy Cabristante, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 16 2023 07:24 PM

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MANILA — A commuters' group on Monday called on the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to forgo of its own investigation into the New Year's Day aviation crisis.

The Passenger Forum convenor Primo Morillo told ABS-CBN TeleRadyo that the findings of CAAP's own investigation would lack credibility.

"Dapat wala na po talagang sariling imbestigasyon ang CAAP dahil wala naman pong maniniwala doon," Morillo said.

Instead of an internal investigation, Morillo said CAAP must subject itself to a probe by an independent body to make sure that the findings were impartial and credible.

He noted some passengers stranded by the technical fiasco on Jan. 1, were calling for accountability on the part of CAAP officials, especially when the agency assured the public that their systems were ready for the surge of travelers during the holiday season.

Aside from the extreme inconvenience, Morillo said passengers who were stranded overseas due to the cancelation of their Philippine-bound flights were forced to shell out money for additional accommodations and other expenses.

Morillo said his group was mulling to file a class suit against CAAP, but some of their members opted to wait for the Senate to finish its own investigation before they took action.

The group was also considering to call on CAAP officials to resign from their posts to ensure that they would not influence ongoing investigations. 

Last Thursday, CAAP took "full accountability" for the New Year's Day crisis that paralyzed the entire country's air traffic.

"We extend our sincerest apologies to all those inconvenienced and greatly affected by this circumstance, which is something we're not proud of. We take full responsibility and accountability to what happened," CAAP director general Manuel Tamayo said during a Senate panel hearing.

Tamayo explained that the mess was due to a "faulty signal coming from a damaged circuit breaker."