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Dedma: Duterte ignored Lucio Tan’s offer to settle airport dues – PAL lawyer

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Philippine Airlines (PAL) of bilyonaryo Lucio Tan is claiming that the Duterte administration has ignored its offer to settle its airport dues amounting to P7.3 billion.

In a statement, PAL vice president for legal Clara de Castro claimed that PAL was willing to pay more than what the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines claimed the airline owed the government for the use of the runway and its exclusive use of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.

“PAL formally submitted its offer to CAAP which offer is more than the amount covered by the CAAP supporting invoices received by PAL. To date, however, PAL has not received any official response from CAAP on its offer,” de Castro said.

“We look forward to meeting the negotiating panel and we are ready to submit a Compromise Agreement to settle this issue once and for all,” she added.

PAL claimed that it has always been open to settling its dues – which it pegged at P6.63 billion – to the government since it received a demand letter from CAAP in August 2016 or the second month in President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

“This issue on alleged unpaid navigational charges involves complex legal issues which PAL has been trying to thresh out with the CAAP for years. In fact, the same legal issues were the subject of a court case between PAL and the MIAA (Manila International Airport Authority) years back where the court ruled in favor of PAL. Despite the favorable ruling, PAL then opted to settle amicably with the MIAA as a manifestation of its full support to the government,” de Castro said.

Before the snub, De Castro claimed that “communications have been open between the parties as regards this matter.”

“In fact, PAL stressed that CAAP created an inter-agency panel of negotiators for the proposed settlement,” she said.

Duterte has given Tan ten days to pay in full his dues to the government or he would close down its operations.

Duterte has refused to accept any campaign donation from Tan in the 2016 presidential elections as he vowed to collect P30 billion in back taxes from the country’s fourth richest man.