MANILA - Days after he survived a helicopter crash that left two of his colleagues gravely injured, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Gamboa reported for work Monday and vowed to travel "by land" for now.
"By land. But in due time I will ride a helicopter again," said Gamboa who wore a cast on his right arm.
The 55-year-old top cop was on his way to Calamba, Laguna in a 2-year-old twin-engine Bell 429 chopper with police 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, Laguna.
Gamboa and his men were in San Pedro for an inspection of impounded vehicles.
Ramos, the PNP comptrollership chief, sustained a serious head injury. He and Magaway remained in critical condition.
Gamboa said the Bell 429 chopper was his preferred aircraft,
"because it's twin engine, bigger aircraft," and could transport more people.
He added he was confident about its performance because it was purchased brand new, and underwent regular bidding.
"It's way above board. These are brand new helicopters, came all the way from Canada, and tested in Canada before it was transported here," said Gamboa.
He said the chopper had been in use for over two years.
Gamboa refused to comment on speculations that the incident was deliberate, and urged the public to just wait for the results of the independent probe.
Meanwhile, PNP will shoulder the cost of repair of the damaged houses and vehicles affected by the helicopter crash, said Gamboa.