The helicopter crash that injured the country’s top police officials on Thursday (March 5) will have no effect on President Duterte’s preference for choppers in getting to his sorties on time, his spokesman and chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo said.
Panelo told reporters that knowing Duterte’s “fatalistic” orientation, a mishap occurring while he is riding a helicopter is something that the President just dismisses. This is why he is often seen taking helicopters to his official functions. He also joins aerial inspections via choppers.
Panelo said this makes it very unlikely that Duterte will stop riding choppers, even after the near-fatal crash of a 2-year-old Bell 429 chopper in San Pedro, Laguna carrying PNP Chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa, Major Generals Jovic Ramos and Mariel Magaway, his comptrollership and intelligence heads, respectively; Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, the PNP spokesman; an aide, a technician and 2 pilots.
“You know the President, the President naman always says ‘if it’s my time, it’s my time.’ Fatalistic siya eh,” Panelo said.
Gamboa’s condition is already stable, with a picture of him on a hospital bed beside Senator Ronald dela Rosa, Duterte’s first PNP chief, already posted on social media.
Only Ramos and Magaway were reported to be still in critical condition.
“Initial accounts reveal that the mishap was caused by the helicopter getting in contact with a high-tension wire due to poor visibility. With this, we ask the public to refrain from making speculations relative to the circumstances as we wait for the official results of the probe on the incident,” Panelo said.
He said Duterte will most likely visit the PNP officials, just like what the President always does when a uniformed personnel was injured while on official duty.