MANILA: The Philippines’ Department of National Defense (DND) said on Friday that it will conduct a separate investigation into the case of a Saudi aviation student who went missing while on a training flight in Occidental Mindoro.
This was upon the request of Saudi Ambassador to the Philippines Dr. Abdullah Al-Bussairy.
“We are doing our own (investigation),” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in an interview on the sidelines of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) 45th anniversary photo exhibit and commemorative event titled “Snapshots of History” at The Gallery in Makati City.
Lorenzana was referring to the case of 23-year-old Abdullah Khalid Al-Sharif, who disappeared along with his flying instructor Capt. Jose Nelson Yapparcon on May 17.
“I had a meeting with the Saudi ambassador last week, the reason being that according to him they were able to uncover some documents that may help in bringing closure to the accident,” Lorenzana said.
“The Saudi national is a student, he was with a pilot (instructor), there’s two of them and the plane is somewhere in the coast off Mindoro (Occidental). Nothing was recovered, not even the plane or anything,” he added.
On speculation that Al-Sharif could be a victim of kidnapping, the defense chief said that that was one of the theories raised by the Saudi envoy.
“That is why they want another investigation aside from the official one to bring closure to the accident,” Lorenzana said.
The Saudi ambassador, Lorenzana said, “wanted the DND to conduct another investigation using these documents to ascertain what really happened to that ill-fated trainer plane so that the family of the student pilot can put closure to this case.”