3 in PNP helicopter crash face probe
Neil Jayson Servallos (The Philippine Star) - June 30, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Two pilots and a crewmember who were among those injured when a helicopter of the Philippine National Police crashed in Laguna in March will be investigated for possible administrative and criminal liabilities, the PNP said yesterday.

PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said he approved a recommendation of the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) to investigate Lt. Col. Roel Zalatar and his co-pilot Lt. Col. Rico Macawili as well as Senior M/Sgt. Louie Estona.

Zalatar, Macawili and Estona are currently assigned at the Special Action Force administration holding unit.

Gamboa was among passengers of the helicopter that crashed in San Pedro City on March 5.

Gamboa, along with seven other passengers that also included PNP officials, were on their way to Camp Vicente Lim when the helicopter figured in the accident.

Among those on board were PNP comptroller Maj. Gen. Jovic Ramos and intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Mariel Magaway; PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, and Gamboa’s aide Capt. Kevin Gayramara.

Ramos and Magaway were seriously injured in the crash.

Magaway was released recently from the Asian Hospital while Ramos remains in a coma.

Gamboa earlier dismissed sabotage and cited poor visibility as the cause of the accident.

After the crash, all air assets of the PNP were grounded and the pilots re-evaluated.

Gamboa said he has lifted the restrictions.

The PNP earlier announced the revival of its basic helicopter pilot training course to strengthen its aviation capability.

To prove that the helicopters as well as the pilots of the PNP are in better condition and capable, respectively, Gamboa said he would fly to Ilocos on July 17, which will be his first after the Laguna crash.

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