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Investigators: No evidence so far of foul play in Robredo crash

The main wreckage of the Piper Seneca plane that crashed in Masbate, killing DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo. Photo by Krisken Jones
The online news portal of TV5

Investigators have so far found no evidence of foul play being involved in the plane crash that killed former DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo.

This came to light on Monday as the Congressional Oversight Committee on Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (COCCAAP) chaired by Senator Bong Revilla Jr. was briefed by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on various matters.

Revilla and members of the COCCAAP were brief by CAAP officials led by Capt. Beda B. Badiola, the Assistant Director General ll of the flight inspectorate service, and by Capt. John Andrews, Assistant Director General ll for Administration.

The en banc meeting of COCCAAP, held at Hongkong Seafood Restaurant at CCP complex Roxas Blvd., Pasay City, tackled various matters pertaining to Philippine aviation safety.

When Senator Revilla Jr. asked the CAAP about the preliminary results of their investigation on the plane crash in Masbate that killed DILG Secretary Jessie Robredo last August 18, Andrews stressed they are not yet done with their work. He added, however, that their findings so far do not suggest any foul play as being a factor in the crash. 

Andrews was quoted by a report from Sen. Revilla's office that CAAP investigators, led by Captain Amado Soliman, are still focused on establishing why one of the plane's engines failed.

The twin-engine Piper Seneca, operated by Aviator Air, was traveling from Cebu-Mactan International Airport to Naga City, Camarines Sur, when it was forced to head for an emergency landing off the Coast of Masbate Island. The plane crashed into the bay, less than a kilometer from the airport runway.

Robredo perished in the crash, along with pilot Jessup Bahinting and Bahinting's Nepalese co-pilot Kshitiz Chand. Robredo's aide, Senior Insp. June Paolo Abrazado, was the lone survivor.

Aviator Air has been under investigation by the Aircraft Accident and Investigation Board of CAAP after one of its aircraft, a Cessna 172, crash-landed in Mambajao, Camiguin, on March 4, 2012. That accident killed Filipino pilot Christian Cesar Cebrecus  and Norwegian tourist Racquel Strande. Strande's husband, Lars, their three-year-old child, and student pilot Nurmala Dewi, were injured but survived the crash.

The company's flying school was grounded as result of that incident, but the chartered flights business, covered by a separate permit, was allowed to continue after the Camiguin crash.