Investigation of pilot, crew in March 5 PNP helicopter crash taking off soon
At his first news briefing after the accident, Gamboa said he will travel by land on his official engagements for now.
Michael Varcas
Investigation of pilot, crew in March 5 PNP helicopter crash taking off soon
( - June 29, 2020 - 5:21pm

MANILA, Philippines — The crew of a helicopter that crashed while the chief of the national police was aboard will face an investigation into their possible liability for the incident.

Earlier in March, Police Gen. Archie Gamboa, PNP chief, figured in a helicopter crash that seriously injured two police generals and other ranking members of the police force. 

Speaking to the media at Monday morning's press briefing in Camp Crame, Gamboa said: “I reviewed the findings and recommendations of the SITG [on Sunday night.] I said ‘yes, you may conduct [an] investigation and find out whether there is administrative or criminal culpability on the part of the pilot in command and, of course, including the crew."

"Colonel (Roel) Zalatar who was the [pilot in command] together with the two others from Air Unit are actually assigned in Special Action Force Admin Holding awaiting for the investigation that they will undergo,” he added.

The police chief has allowed the police pilot training course to resume and has assured the public that its helicopters are in sound condition and its pilots well-trained.

Gamboa is scheduled to take a chopper to visit Police Regional Office 1 in San Fernando, La Union on Friday, July 17.

March 5 crash

With the police chief at the time of the crash that day in March were Police Maj. Gen. Mariel Magaway, Police Maj. Gen. Jose Maria Ramos, Police Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, two pilots, a crew member, and a personal assistant of Gamboa.

Days after the crash, Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, the national police's deputy chief for operations, said that the incident would only likely see a quick probe.

Police told The STAR at the time that they were looking at airworthiness and lapses in landing site selection and preparation among other possible causes.

At his first news briefing after the crash, Gamboa said that he would opt to travel by land for all of his official engagements for the time being.

“That will be my first try after the March 5 incident. I’m riding on July 17 to convince all that I’m convinced that our choppers are airworthy including our pilots,” Gamboa said of his forthcoming arrangement. — Franco Luna with a report from The STAR/Emmanuel Tupas

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