Año clears Carlos on 'Balesin' issue over PNP chopper crash

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año absolved the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) from any responsibility on the helicopter crash in Quezon province that left a policeman dead and two police pilots seriously injured.

“He (Carlos) is still the chief PNP and it’s rightful for him to use the PNP chopper to be able to attend a forthcoming official duty when there are no other available means,’’ Año insisted.

Año was reacting to statements questioning the propriety of using government resources to to pick an official and even family members from rest and recreation areas.

In the case of PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos, the chopper flew to pick him up from Balesin, a high-end island resort in Quezon, where he stayed during the weekend.

On Feb. 21, an Airbus H-125 helicopter which took off at 6:17 a.m. at the Manila Domestic Airport in Pasay City on an administrative mission was initially reported missing but was later discovered to have crashed in Real, Quezon.

Rescue teams from the PNP, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and local government unit (LGU) reached the crash site in Barangay Pandan at 8:05 a.m. where three wounded passengers were extricated from the ill-fated chopper.

The fatality, Allen Noel Ona later died while undergoing treatment.

Dexter Vitug, pilot and co-pilot Michael Melloria are confined and undergoing treatment in a private hospital in Infanta, Quezon.

Clearing Carlos from any liability, Año pointed out that the investigation will “focus on the cause of the accident’’ reiterating that asking him to go on leave for the incident is out of the question. (Chito A. Chavez)