MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday clarified that the death toll in the crash of the C-130 cargo plane in Patikul, Sulu last July 4 stands at 49.
In a statement, AFP chief, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said this corrects previous reports of 50 military fatalities in the incident, citing that there had been a case of “double count”.
“This is a very hard task since the cadavers were beyond recognition but we have experts supporting our efforts. We are doing our best to expedite the identification and the ongoing investigation without compromising its credibility,” Sobejana said.
He, meanwhile, asked for the public’s understanding as investigating teams have yet to gather more pieces of evidence to find out the circumstances of the crash.
“Our people can be assured of the AFP’s transparency however the investigation process takes time. All factors are being considered in our deliberate efforts to ensure the accuracy of the findings,” he added.
Meanwhile, 19 military fatalities have been identified by the AFP.
These include Maj. Emmanuel Makalintal, Maj. Michael Vincent Benolerao, 1st Lt. Joseph Hintay, T/Sgt. Mark Anthony Agana, T/Sgt. Donald Badoy, Staff Sgt. Jan Neil Macapaz, Staff Sgt. Michael Bulalaque, and Sgt. Jack Navarro, all from the Philippine Air Force.
Also killed were Capt. Nigello Emeterio from the AFP Medical Corps and 1st Lt. Sheena Alexandria Tato from the AFP Nurse Corps.
From the Philippine Army, identified were Sgt. Butch Maestro, Private 1st Class Christopher Rollon, Private 1st Class Felixzalday Provido, Privates Raymar Carmona, Vic Monera, Mark Nash Lumanta, Jomar Gabas, Marcelino Alquisar, and Mel Mark Angana.
The AFP has transported the remains of Emeterio, Maestro, Agana, Rollon. Provido, Gabas, Alquisar, Lumanta, Angana, Carmona, and Monera to their hometowns.
The remains of Tato are now transported via C-295 aircraft while seven of the identified cadavers are being prepared for air and land transport.
Sobejana said 30 more cadavers, which are still in Zamboanga City, have yet to be identified. (PNA)