CAAP chief Tamayo must take leave of absence, says House leader

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) officials--most notably Director General Manuel Antonio Tamayo--ought to go on leave while the jury is still out on the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) New Year's day crisis.

Cagayan de Oro City 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (MANILA BULLETIN)

This was floated by Cagayan de Oro City 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez during the House Committee on Transportation briefing held Tuesday, Jan. 10 on the mass flight cancellations.

Tamayo was among those physically present during the hearing. His superior, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista, was also in attendance.

“Do you think DG Tamayo should take a leave of absence together with the officials of CAAP to afford the investigating body with other words there would be no stone unturned,” Rodriguez asked Bautista via Zoom.

“We cannot have the responsible official stay there while there is an investigation. We don’t want a whitewash, we want a real investigation where we set aside temporarily those who were managing.... this air traffic system," noted the Mindanaoan.

To this DOTr head honcho replied, “We will consider asking those people involve to take a leave of absence.”

Rodriguez, chairman off the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, clarified that he is not calling for resignation but just a leave of absence “until there will be a definitive report of the investigation by technical people by everyone in the know".

During the panel discussion, Tamayo said that a Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)-led "forensic investigation" on the Communications, Navigation and Surveillance Systems for Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) of the NAIA was ongoing.

However, he said that there no timetable for the completion of the probe on the critical system, which allegedly experienced a glitch on Jan .1, thereby resulting to over 400 cancelled flights.

Tamaayo, in an ambush interview after the briefing, said he is willing to go on leave “if there will be any suspicion at all if they feel that I’ll be influencing the investigation".

The CAAP chief added: “I don’t think I need to go on a leave of absence...I feel that I’m so new in CAAP eh so as far as I’m concerned, we do the best we can as far as managing the people is concerned and managing the resources of CAAP is concerned.”

Tamayo was appointed as CAAP director general only last November.