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MARINA: MT Princess Empress’ CPC ‘not authentic’

The director of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) in the National Capital Region on Monday denied signing an amended Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) which covered the MT Princess Empress.

At a news conference, MARINA-NCR regional director Marc Pascua said the copy of the CPC released by the Philippine Coast Guard was not authentic.

“I just want to clarify that as far as MARINA-NCR is concerned, as far as records are concerned, wala po kaming in-issue na amended CPC sa particular vessel na Princess Empress, that’s number one," Pascua said.

"Number two, wala po akong pinipirmahan na CPC for that particular vessel,” he added.

(Number one, we did not issue an amended CPC to Princess Empress. Number two, I did not sign a CPC for that particular vessel.)

PCG spokesperson Rear Admiral Armando Balilo said the PCG allowed the ill-fated MT Princess Empress to sail after its CPC was submitted to the coast guard on February 27.

MARINA spokesperson Sharon Aledo earlier confirmed that the company RDC Reield Marine Services has a valid company CPC. However, it showed that MT Princess Empress has not yet been added to such CPC.

In a message to GMA News Online, Balilo said that MARINA should let the shipowner explain if indeed the document was falsified.

He said that the PCG received the same documents on several occasions from the 2nd mate of the vessel, thus it would be better if the explanation for the “misrepresentation” would be coming from the crew him/herself.

“Kung fake, let the shipping company explain. Ilang beses silang nag submit ng parehong document,” Balilo said.

(If it's fake, let the shipping company explain. They submitted the same document several times.)

“We relied on that document. ‘Pag pinakita sa amin mga docs gaing ng Marina may presumption of regularity. We also do that to other docs presented to us na most of the times wala namang irregularity,” he added.

(When we are shown documents coming from the MARINA, there is a presumption of regularity. We also do that to other documents presented to us that most of the time have no irregularity.)

Balilo said on Wednesday it was checking the validity of the CPC of MT Princess Empress following questions that it sailed without such a permit.

Pascua said that he was serving as a regional director for MARINA NCR and not a franchising director—as indicated in the document—-when the MT Princess Empress sailed. His first name is also spelled as “Marc” and not “Mark.”

Aledo also pointed out that a certain Feliciano Tira, who certified the CPC amendment as a true copy, retired on January 1, 2020, and already died on December 27, 2022.

She said that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is also investigating if the CPC submitted to the PCG is authentic or not.

The Department of Justice earlier said an inter-agency committee and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) were looking into the possibility that some officials of the PCG and MARINA colluded to allow MT Princess Empress to sail despite the absence of an amended CPC.

Aledo said MARINA would cooperate with any investigation.

MT Princess Empress sank on February 28 off Naujan while carrying 900,000 liters of industrial fuel. Aside from Oriental Mindoro, it has also reached nearby provinces like Antique, Palawan, and Batangas. —NB, GMA Integrated News