MANILA - Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said Thursday he would return to work next week, hours after he survived a helicopter crash in San Pedro City, Laguna.
In a video message, Gamboa assured the PNP and the public that he wasn't seriously hurt in the crash and that he's ready to continue his duties on Monday.
"Sa ating mga kababayan at lalo na sa ating mga kapulisan, ako eh lumabas ngayon dito para ipakita ko sa inyo na okay ako, na hindi naman ako nasaktan. As a matter of fact, I'm going back to office on Monday," the 55-year-old top cop said from a hospital bed, with a cast on his right arm.
(To our countrymen, especially to our police officers, I'm here now to show that I'm okay, that I wasn't injured. As a matter of fact, I'm going back to office on Monday.)
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año confirmed earlier that Gen. Camilo Cascolan, PNP's Deputy Chief for Administration, will be officer-in-charge of the institution until Gamboa returns to “full duty status.”
Gamboa appealed to the public not to further share photos of the accident on social media.
"Tulungan niyo na lang kami na ipagdasal 'yung mga nasa ospital pa (Help us instead to pray for those who are still in the hospital)," he said.
Gamboa was on his way to Calamba, Laguna in a 2-year-old twin-engine Bell chopper with police top officials Major Generals Jovic Ramos and Mariel Magaway, and PNP spokesman Police Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, when the aircraft got tangled with power lines after takeoff in San Pedro.
The PNP said Ramos and Magaway are both in critical condition.
The incident was witnessed by an ABS-CBN reporter on the scene.
Gamboa and his men were in San Pedro for an inspection of impounded vehicles.
"Kasama talaga 'yon sa aking biyahe papuntang Calabarzon (That's part of my trip to Calabarzon), again, to give warning to everyone that no matter what the Philippine National Police will always enforce the law, no matter what it takes," he said.
Año said he would launch a probe on the chopper crash "to prevent future incidents."