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Claim of Marcos aircraft ‘sabotage’ unsupported

An aircraft flying President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to South Cotabato on June 14 returned to Villamor Air Base shortly after takeoff because of a technical issue and not because of a sabotage attempt as a YouTube video has implied.

Once back at Villamor, Marcos switched from a Gulfstream G280 to a C295 and arrived in South Cotabato for the launching of the Consolidated Rice Production and Mechanization Program safely but three hours behind schedule.

However, the video uploaded that same day by the YouTube channel GIE News TV insinuated of a possible sabotage, saying in its thumbnail:

Eroplano ni PBBM papuntang S. Cotabato muntik ng pabagsakin (BBM’s plane bound for South Cotabato nearly forced down)?

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is commonly referred to as “Bongbong Marcos” or his initials BBM. The P stands for president.

The YouTube channel failed to substantiate its allegation of a sabotage and instead simply ran excerpts from an RTVMalacanang live stream on YouTube of the launch in Banga, South Cotabato. It was followed by a short clip, originally from TikTok, of Marcos greeting people outside the South Cotabato Gymnasium and Cultural Center in Koronadal City after the distribution of various government assistance later that day.

A statement from the Philippine Air Force said the G280 had already taken off when an issue with the aircraft’s flaps was detected, according a report of to the state-run Philippines News Agency.

The statement said:

It is nothing serious, but since the PAF maintains the highest standards of flight safety, the pilots decided to do a precautionary return to base (Villamor Air Base in Pasay City) and have the aircraft thoroughly checked.

The Presidential Communications Office (PCO) also informed the media through a text message that the president was unharmed.

Nowhere in either statements does it mention any possible foul play.

Delivered to the PAF in September 2020, the G280 is capable of landing on small runways and transporting 12 to 15 persons, including the pilots and crew, according to PNA.

The aircraft could have landed fine despite the flap issue. Flapless landings are included in a pilot’s flight training in the event of emergencies or malfunctions as imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines’ skill test standards.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Authority maintains in its handbook that landing with a total flap failure is “not particularly difficult or dangerous” as long as certain factors are considered.

The video has over 90,000 views, the most viewed video in the channel. GIE News TV was created in 2020 with its content primarily revolving around Marcos. It only recently started posting again after a year of no new video content. GIE News TV has 24,900 subscribers and 7.9 million views on all its videos. (NP)


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