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MARINA execs face graft complaint

MARINA execs face graft complaint
Elizabeth Marcelo - February 3, 2020 -

MANILA, Philippines — Three ranking officials of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) were sued before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly giving unwarranted benefits to a vessel classification group.

Marine vessels are classified according to the soundness of their structure and design.

In his 26-page complaint filed on Jan. 28, lawyer Manuel Tiuseco urged the ombudsman to investigate Vice Admiral Narciso Vingson Jr., officer-in-charge of MARINA’s office of the administrator; Arsenio Lingad II, OIC of MARINA’s office of the deputy administrator for planning; and Eusebia Cadlum-Boco, OIC of MARINA’s legal service office, for violating Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Also included as respondents in the complaint were unnamed members of MARINA’s legal service office for allegedly participating in the “patently erroneous” ruling made by the agency, which supposedly gave “unwarranted benefit, advantage and preference” to vessel classification society Filipino Vessels Classification Systems Association, Inc. (FVCSAI).

The society and its president, Rene Villoria, were included in the complaint.

Tiuseco said the officials committed “grave abuse of discretion” in reversing their decision on a complaint-affidavit he filed against FVCSAI before the MARINA on May 6, 2016.

Tiuseco is the president of another maritime vessel classification society, Orient Register of Shipping.

He filed the complaint in connection with the FVCSAI’s issuance of an allegedly falsified certificate of classification, dated Sept. 27, 2010, for the then newly constructed oil tanker SL Banaba, owned by SMC Shipping and Lighterage Corp.

Tiuseco said FVCSAI did not conduct pre-requisite ship surveys, as evidenced by its failure to submit to the MARINA and to the ship owner the required survey reports regarding the classification of SL Banaba, in violation of MARINA’s Memorandum Circular (MC) 104.

Tiuseco also said that a random audit by the MARINA safety services office conducted from Jan. 13 to Feb. 10, 2015 also revealed that FVCSAI has “incomplete vessels records.”

MARINA, in a decision dated Oct. 24, 2017, ruled in favor of Tiuseco and fined FVCSAI P50,000 for violating MC 104.

In its Dec. 16, 2019 decision, however, the MARINA granted FVCSAI’s motion for reconsideration, and ruled that “MC 104 does not apply” to FVCSAI since it is “not acquiring any vessel in this case.”

Tiuseco said MC 104 clearly stated that the “acquired” vessels required to be classified include those for importation, those that are locally constructed and those that are subject of trading status conversion from overseas operations to domestic operations.

He said the respondents caused undue injury to the public good and the safety of ship personnel and passengers since the MARINA “decision now implies there would be no need for vessels that are being locally constructed to be surveyed for classification by a class society” and that classification societies may decide to not perform their duty to classify vessels.