Masbate plane crash probe to answer questions

By Dennis Carcamo, The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 22 2012 11:29 PM | Updated as of Aug 23 2012 07:29 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The investigation of the Civil Aeronautics Authority of the Philippines will center on the general circumstances surrounding the plane crash in Masbate which killed three people, including Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, an official said Wednesday.

Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas said the focus of the CAAP probe, headed by director general William Hotchkiss, on the plane crash Saturday will be a general one.

In a interview with reporters at the Archbishop's Palace in Naga City, Roxas said the CAAP investigation will be on "the whole series of event."

"They have a unit their in the CAAP, mga dalubhasang mga piloto...iimbestigahan halimbawa yung ELT o yung electronic location transmitter...kasi kapag tumama iyan sa tubig, magta-transmit ng signal iyan [pero] bakit walang signal na nababasa? Nasira ba ang equipment na ito? Maaring hindi naikabit iyong equipment?" Roxas told reporters outside the area where Robredo's wake is being held.

Roxas also appealed to the members of the media to refrain from speculating on what caused the plane to crash, such as some unverified reports that the Piper Seneca plane exploded when it hit the waters of the Masbate bay.

"Mga speculation lang iyan. Huwag na tayong sumabak pa sa mga espe-spekulasyon. Walang opisyal na report na nagsasabi na sumabog. Tulungan nating ang pamilya ni Sec. Jesse at huwag na tayong mag speculate," he added.

Meanwhile, Roxas said President Benigno Aquino III will respect the wishes of Robredo's family on where the late government official will be buried.

"Rerespetuhin ng Pangulo ang wishes ng pamilya. Kung anumang honors na maibibgay kay Sec. Jesse ibibigay ng Pangulo," he said.

On Saturday, after reading a speech of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III at a police national summit at the Cebu International Convention Center, Robredo was rushing home to Naga City to spend time with his family. Instead of taking a commercial flight, he opted to tak a chartered flight from Cebu to Naga.

According to Robredo's aide, Senior Inspector June Paolo Abrazado, the pilots discovered that there was something wrong after an hour of flying out of Cebu City. Abrazado is the lone survivor in the crash that also killed pilots Jessup Bahinting and Nepalese Kshitiz Chand.

Robredo's body was eventually found and recovered by technical divers on Tuesday morning. The government is attempting to lift the light plane to retrieve the remains of Bahinting and Chand.