MANILA, Philippines - The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) ruled out foul play in the plane crash that killed Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo and two pilots last August.
"As far as the accident is concerned, it is established that there is no foul play. It is an accident," CAAP deputy director-general Capt. John Andrews told a congressional oversight committee on Monday.
He said, "Maybe it was an accident that was waiting to happen."
Andrews said they are looking closely into engine failure as the possible cause of the crash, among other reasons.
He explained the CAAP's investigating committee will break down the plane's engine into parts to check if it was poorly maintained or if it contains some parts that are not supposed to be there.
"That is the only issue I think that we're going to be concentrating on now, why the engine quit," he said.
He also confirmed to reporters after the hearing that the Nepalese co-pilot of the Piper Seneca plane, Kshitiz Chand, did not fly the aircraft because he was not authorized.
"He never touched the controls. He was seated on the right seat, Capt. (Jessup) Bahinting was on the left seat," Andres said.
He did not provide more details during the public hearing, and asked the committee to conduct a closed-door session.
He said the CAAP's investigating committee will finish the investigation earlier than the 60 days given to it.
"CAAP is concerned not only with prevention but also how it happened, who are the people responsible for this, and what penalties, if any, should be imposed," Andrews said.