Many accidents happening over the weekend
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - September 3, 2019 - 12:00am

It was a rainy weekend for us and a huge surprise that we just had too many accidents last weekend when I read in the front page of The Philippine STAR that a Beechcraft King Air 350 on a medical evacuation with aircraft registry number RP-C2296 crashed into a resort in Laguna, killing all its nine passengers. From the inset photo, one can see the King Air, as it was about to plunge into the resort in a video taken by the resort owner.

Reading the list of fatalities, you can even see that the nurse was Japanese and the patient died with his wife. The King Air apparently flew from Dipolog City to proceed to NAIA but unfortunately it crashed in Adobo Resort in Miramonte Subdivision in Barangay Pansol’s Purok 6 – about two kilometers from Mount Makiling, burning some residential homes in the subdivision. Meanwhile we await the investigation of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. The inset photo showed the King Air was smoking before it crashed, which means that the pilots were really in an emergency situation.

Mind you, a Beechcraft King Air is one of the sturdiest private planes that one can have and I don’t recall of King Air planes having crashed in this country. This was probably the first one. What is distressing was that it was on a medical mission that really ended in a disaster. Instead of sending its patient to the hospital, they all ended up in a plane crash, charred beyond recognition.

While that was the airplane accident last Sunday, it turns out that last Saturday a Piper Aztec PA 23-250 multi-engine plane flying from Kuyu, Palawan, on its way to the Sangley Point runway in Cavite crashed in Papaya, Nasugbu, Batangas. The pilots, Capt. Eugene Avila, 64, and his co-pilot Armando Ducat, were injured as they managed to maneuver the plane to crash hear the shoreline of Nasugbu. That’s two plane crashes in two days, and we read that the Piper Aztec had fuel line trouble, which is why they had to ditch the plane before it reached Sangley Point.

In another accident, I learned that four people sustained minor injuries when the M/V Mika Mari 8, a roll-on/roll-off ship, which came from Danao Port and listed to its starboard side while docked at the Port of Consuelo, Cebu, after a 10-wheel truck slipped while unloading. My good friend Mon Montinola sent me the video of this stricken ship that listed to its side because it was already unbalanced and the vessel tipped over while many of its passengers were watching.

The M/V Mika Mari 8’s 149 passengers and 18 crewmen were all rescued, after all it was already in its port of call. But if you asked me, the Philippine Coast Guard or the Maritime Industry Authority should conduct a thorough investigation why this vessel capsized even if the 10-wheeler truck slipped while unloading the vessel. This gives you an idea that this incident was caused by an incompetent crew. I mean that vessel should have floated even if it only had that 10-wheeler truck on board.

* * *

It was only a couple of weeks ago when former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was convicted for the 1993 rape and murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños students Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez would have been released by the Department of Justice as announced by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, until the nation howled why someone who was meted three life terms will be freed after serving only 26 years in jail. Thankfully, the Justice Department clarified that apparently Mayor Sanchez was not eligible for parole or freedom.

Just when we thought that this issue was over, we learned that apparently three of the seven convicts in the kidnapping and serious illegal detention of Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong in 1997 have been granted early release in August 2019, according to national reports quoting Bureau of Corrections documents. The release orders, dated August 16, said the three had served 40 years upon retroactive application of Republic Act 10592. They are Josman Aznar, Ariel Balansag, and Alberto Caño. At this point, I would like to know if Thelma Chiong, the mother of Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong is amenable to this release. We will write more about this in the days to come.

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