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DILG defends trip of ill-fated police chopper to pick up PNP chief from a personal affair in Balesin

By Bim Santos Published Feb 22, 2022 6:33 pm

Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año has maintained there is nothing irregular in the trip of a Philippine National Police (PNP) chopper to Balesin to supposedly pick up PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos, before it crashed in Quezon.

Patrolman Allen Noel Ona died while two others—Lt. Col. Dexter Vitug and Lt. Col. Michaeil Melloria—were injured after the chopper that was bound for Balesin crashed in Real, Quezon on Feb. 21.

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, who was the PNP chief during the time of former President Joseph Estrada, said the PNP should explain why the chopper went to pick up Carlos from the exclusive island resort from a personal trip.

“Assuming na personal ang lakad, di siya dapat gumamit ng resources ng PNP (Philippine National Police). Dapat private transportation ang ginamit,” Lacson told reporters today while campaigning in Laguna.

Lacson, however, said that the public should not prejudge Carlos before the details of the issue are further clarified.

But Año said there was nothing wrong for the chopper to pick up the PNP chief in Balesin.

In a statement to the Philippine News Agency, Año said Carlos “is still the chief PNP and it’s rightful for him to use the PNP chopper to be able to attend a forthcoming official duty when there are no other available means.”

Año said the investigation for now will focus on the cause of the accident.

The PNP said it has also grounded the entire fleet of H125 Airbus Police helicopters while an investigation is underway in coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, the Department of Transportation, and other concerned government agencies.