Revilla backs CAAP officials
- Christina Mendez, Perseus Echeminada (The Philippine Star) - September 20, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr., chairman of the congressional committee on Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), has expressed support for the two CAAP officials who issued statements that there was no foul play in the Aug. 18 plane crash that killed former interior and local government secretary Jesse Robredo.

 Revilla believes that CAAP director general William Hotchkiss III and deputy director general John Andrews “meant well” when they informed the congressional committee of their initial findings on the plane crash.

 The senator's remarks came amid reports that outgoing Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas reprimanded the CAAP officials for announcing to the media the result of the agency’s investigation into the plane crash apparently without his clearance.

Veteran investigator suspended

Meanwhile, Hotchkiss has imposed a 90-day suspension on a veteran CAAP investigator who exposed alleged irregularities in the processing of pilot licenses and aircraft operations permits of the Piper Seneca plane that crashed off Masbate and killed Robredo and two pilots.

Hotchkiss suspended Cesar Lucero pending resolution of an administrative case filed against him for grave misconduct.

The suspension was an offshoot of a separate probe being conducted by Lucero in connection with the plane crash.

Lucero had earlier told newsmen that the Nepalese student pilot of Capt. Jessup Bahinting was in command of the ill-fated plane.

However, in a telephone interview with The STAR, Lucero said he was just performing his job.

A veteran CAAP investigator, Lucero trained at the US Federal Administration and at the International Civil Aviation Administration in Thailand.

He said he will file a complaint before the Ombudsman against CAAP officials for obstruction of justice in their alleged attempt to cover up irregularities in the agency.

He maintained that the plane that ferried the late interior secretary was being used in training student pilots as well as commercial flights.

Lucero added this was the third time that a plane owned by Aviator Flynn Inc. was involved in a crash.

AVIATOR FLYNN INC CAAP CESAR LUCERO CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF THE PHILIPPINES FEDERAL ADMINISTRATION INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION JESSE ROBREDO JESSUP BAHINTING JOHN ANDREWS LUCERO PLANE
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