THE Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday released the findings of the Special Investigation Task Group Bell 429 regarding the helicopter crash that led to the death of former PNP Comptroller, Major General Jose Ma. Victor DF Ramos.
In the interest of transparency, PNP chief, General Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan ordered the release of the findings of the investigation of the SITG Bell 429 based on the final investigation report dated June 19, 2020, said PNP spokesman, Colonel Ysmael S. Yu.
The SITG Bell 429 chaired by Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said their investigation showed the Bell 429 was airworthy, having been issued with a certification of airworthiness by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and that there was no trouble in both engines of the aircraft.
However, the investigation showed the pilot-in-command failed to conduct risk assessment before the takeoff which is required for a trained pilot like him. Second, there was lack of situational awareness and evaluation of surroundings which are part of the protocols for safe and proper takeoff.
Lastly, there were some lapses in judgment on the part of the pilot-in-command that include underestimating the capability of the aircraft.
In view of these findings, the SITG Bell 429 recommended that the pilot-in-command identified as Lieutenant Colonel Ruel Zalatar be held accountable for criminal and administrative capabilities.
Yu said that an administrative case for grave misconduct (Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Serious Physical Injuries, Multiple Less Serious Physical Injuries and Damages to Property under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code) was filed against the pilot-in-command before the PNP Internal Affairs Service last month.
“As to the criminal liability, the case is still subject for review of the Office of the Chief, PNP. The SITG Bell 429 has also recommended safety measures in order to prevent the repeat of this unfortunate incident,” said Yu.
Cascolan led the 209,000-strong police force in mourning the death of Ramos whom he described as of the hardworking and trustworthy police senior officers.
“As chairman of the PNP Bids and Awards Committee and Director for Comptrollership, he was instrumental in the speedy and transparent procurement of various equipment and essentials for the PNP as well as the immediate downloading of funds needed of our personnel on the ground,” the PNP chief said of his mistah from Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986.
“Police Maj. Gen. Joevic Ramos fought a good fight to enjoy his supposed retirement from the service on November 25 with his family, but the Almighty has another plan for him. The PNP extends its deepest sympathies for his wife, children and other members of his family, that include the PMA Sinagtala Class of 1986,” said Cascolan.
Immediately after the PNP chopper crashed at the Laperal Compound in San Pedro City, Laguna last March 5, all PNP air-assets were temporarily grounded. The order was lifted following the completion of the probe.