Demand for the Philippine National Police chief to resign mounted after he used a PNP chopper for transportation “for a private time” to the Balesin Island Club in Polillo, Quezon.
Reports said that three police crew of the H125 Airbus figured in a helicopter crash in Barangay Pandan, Real, Quezon on Monday morning, killing Police Patrolman Allen Noel Ona and injuring Police Lt. Col. Dexter Vitug and Lt. Col. Michael Melloria.
They were on an administrative mission that involved fetching the top cop, Police General Dionardo Carlos, from Balesin Airport due to the unavailability of a private transportation from the luxury island.
The PNP chief requested for an “admin flight” so he could return to the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City on the first working day of the week.
The crash site was approximately 30 kilometers from the town proper of Real where raining weather was prevailing that Monday morning.
The chopper is currently being investigated in coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, the Department of Transportation and other concerned agencies.
According to Carlos, he attended the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Homecoming in Baguio City over the weekend and returned to Camp Crame on Saturday afternoon.
“The following day, Sunday afternoon, I traveled to Balesin island for private time and scheduled to return Monday morning via private transport. However, I was informed that due to unforeseen circumstances, said private transport would only be available in the evening of Monday,” he was quoted as saying.
“This prompted me to request for an admin flight to transfer or move me back to Camp Crame Monday morning so I can perform my duties. The flight directive was allowed and issued following PNP rules and regulations,” Carlos added.
“I regret that the accident happened and never wish harm to my personnel nor losses to the organization,” he further said.
The incident angered some Filipinos who sought for the top cop’s resignation for attempting to use a taxpayer-funded transport to fly him from the exclusive island resort.
“Wow! Resign now General! Kakahiya ka! Using PNP’s helicopter for a private thing? 1 soul is lost because of you,” a Filipino on Reddit wrote.
“He should resign asap,” another Redditor commented.
“Someone died dahil sa pa-VIP treatment mo at ginamit mo pa ang government chopper for personal use. Kung meron ka pang konting hiya sa sarili mo at sa sambayanang Pilipino, PNP Chief Dionardo Carlos, sana man lang ngayon pa lang mag RESIGN ka na,” a Filipino said on Twitter.
“Regret lang? Meron namatay eh, the least you can do is resign from your post,” another Twitter user commented, responding to Carlos’ statement.
In response to the controversy hounding Carlos, Sen. Ping Lacson, presidential aspirant and former PNP chief, said that PNP officials should always lead by example.
“I’m not accusing him of anything. Assuming that the event was a personal thing, he should not have used the resources of the PNP,” he said on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, also the chief of the National Police Commission, said that Carlos’ usage of the PNP chopper was “among the privileges as head of [the] organization.”
“He’s the [Chief of the PNP] and as the CPNP attending to official functions, it is just rightful for him to use the PNP chopper,” Año said on Tuesday.
“Part of that is securing him because you can’t take away his title or position as chief of the PNP… You can’t separate private time from official time. If that is not allowed, it will be hard for our people to be able to do their functions if you always think like this. There are certain things that can be given to him,” he added.
“It’s no different from the heads of other organizations. Even if they have private time you can’t say it isn’t allowed,” Año said in Filipino.
He further said that there was “nothing unethical” about the incident.
“There is nothing unusual there because there were no available means to get back to Crame, and there was an official function so that’s okay. There is nothing unethical there… especially if he needs to secure his life he has to get where he needs to go,” Año continued.