MANILA - The Department of Justice said the operator of the sunken tanker MT Princess Empress falsified public documents.
According to DOJ Undersecretary Raul Vasquez, documents show that there was a falsification of public documents in the operation of MT Princess Empress.
"As far as the records would show- the fact of the matter is there have been falsified documents which we discovered to have been falsified. Kasi 2 documents ito - number 1 yung certificate of registration which allegedly is arising from a decision that was issued by MARINA which MARINA denied of having issued and secondly 'yung mga construction certificate which indicate that the vessel was allegedly constructed in Bataan but actually it was constructed in Navotas," Vasquez said.
Vasquez also said that based on investigation, two regional officers of the Maritime Industry Authority in Bicol region signed the falsified documents of RDC Reield Marine Services, the operator of MT Princess Empress.
DOJ Sec. Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla also believes RDC Reield Marine Services did not operate in "good faith", considering it used falsified documents.
"Pagkukulang? I think good faith talaga kulang dito eh. Parang bad faith… Hindi sila naging really compliant with all the responsibilities as people who would want to get certificate of necessity and public convenience kasi common carriers sila…. The diligence… extra-ordinary diligence ang hinahanap sa kanila eh. So we have something missing there. They took things for granted, they took shortcuts," Remulla said.
Remulla also reiterated the importance of following the requirements of regulatory agencies.
"Malinaw naman ang batas pagdating sa requirements…you really have to exercise necessary measures para ikaw ay mabigyan ng ganitong klaseng franchise….hindi dapat ginagawang biro ang prangkisa - ang prangkisa seryoso yan, serbisyo sa publiko para kang nag-assemble ng bus na hindi pala tama ang suspension at nagkaroon ng aksidente hindi malayo yun sa nangyari ngayon," he added.
“Marahil nasanay na silang magpalusot - parang meron silang palusutan na nangyayari dito, hindi lang yun kasama sa kaso pa pero may palusutan dito kaya nangyari ‘to. Negligence yan eh, ang mga regulatory agencies natin dapat nag-iingat yan na ang kanilang binibigyang permiso ay talagang angkop sa trabaho," Remulla added.
DOJ spokesperson Atty. Mico Clavano said it took them some time to file charges against RDC Reield Marine Services because the government prioritized the clean-up of the oil spill.
"Nauna po kasi yung clean-up ng oil spill, I think that was the most important thing to do at marami po tayong mga kababayan sa Pola at neighboring provinces and cities na na-affect doon sa oil spill so we prioritized bago muna natin kasuhan," he said.
The MT Princess Empress ran aground off the coast of Pola, Oriental Mindoro on February 28. It was carrying some 800,000 liters of industrial oil as cargo and fuel.
The oil spill has so far left P58.137 million worth of damage and losses to fisheries, affected more than 27,500 fisherfolk, and caused 15 local government units to declare a state of calamity.
More than 42,000 families have been affected from over 100 affected areas in Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Antique, and Batangas.