Palace: CAAP ‘premature’ for ruling out foul play in Robredo crashBy TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — Pronouncements by civil aviation officials ruling out foul play in the Aug. 18 plane crash that killed Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo are premature since the investigation by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines is still ongoing, according to Malacañang.
“First that remark that was made by Captain Andrews, if I am not [mistaken], was a personal opinion. As you all know, the CAAP is still conducting the investigation. We would like to hold off on any initial information,’’ Undersecretary Abigail Valte, the deputy spokesperson of President Aquino, said in a briefing.
At this point, Valte said it would be “best for all of us to wait until the CAAP itself releases the results of the investigation.’’
Retired Capt. John Andrews, CAAP deputy director general, had told a joint congressional committee that the plane crash was “an accident that was waiting to happen.’’
“It is established that there is no foul play. Maybe it was an accident that was waiting to happen,’’ said Andrews, who later asked for a closed-door session to divulge the “causes or reasons behind it all.’’
Andrews said the Piper Seneca plane that flew Robredo from Cebu to Naga City but crashed in Masbate was manufactured in 1972. He said while it was 40 years old, its engine had to be changed and the plane inspected after logging certain flying hours.
He said these were among the standard operating procedures, but did not confirm whether the ill-fated plane had gone through all of them.
Given the importance of his position and the investigation of sensitive matters that he had launched, Robredo’s death set off speculations that the plane crash was attended by foul play.
Robredo died with the pilot and co-pilot when their plane crashed in the waters off Masbate City. His police aide survived.
Valte said it would be prudent for everyone to wait for the final outcome of the investigation by the CAAP.
“The investigation is still ongoing. We would rather that the investigation be finished first before these statements can be made. It’s difficult to talk while the investigation is ongoing and when the evidence has not been scrutinized,’’ she said.