Earlier today, Laus Group chairman Liberato “Levy” P. Laus, was killed in a tragic helicopter accident in Malolos, Bulacan. He was 68 years old.

Laus and pilot Everette Coronel died on the spot, while Wilfran Esteban died in a local hospital.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), the helicopter RP-C8178, which crashed around 12:47 pm, was owned and operated by LGC Air Transport. It left the NAIA General Aviation (GenAv) hangar bound for San Fernando, Pampanga at 12:28 pm. The cause of the accident has yet to be determined.

First responders and the Philippine Red Cross carried out the rescue operation. Philippine Red Cross Chairman, Senator Richard Gordon, confirmed that two of the victims perished on site. One other passenger expired on the way to the hospital.

Laus was considered an influential auto industry icon. He had one of the biggest multi-brand automotive networks in the country, most notably in the central and northern parts of Luzon. His group currently operates over 50 vehicle dealerships. Just some of the brands he has handled include Mitsubishi (Carworld, Inc.), Ford, Kia, Haima, Hyundai, Mazda, Chevrolet, Nissan, Suzuki, BMW, Volkswagen, Jeep, Peugeot, Fuso, and more recently Changhe.

He was also chairman emeritus of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce, and pushed for development in the countryside. Laus also led the Save San Fernando Movement which compelled the government to build a protective dike to stop lahar from flowing into the province’s capital.

The Laus Group has issued an official statement:

It is with great sorrow that the Laus Family and LausGroup of Companies (LGC) announce the tragic loss of our patriarch and esteemed Chairman and CEO, Liberato “Levy” P. Laus. He was 68.

Levy to family and friends, LPL to colleagues and associates, he was a visionary and leader who championed countryside development with such idealistic and vigorous zeal. He made and left an ingrained mark in the automotive industry as well as the lives of numerous partners he inspired and encouraged, family and friends he loved and cherished, and clients he served and helped.

His untimely passing, unfortunately, came at a time when he was looking forward to greater things, not only for the LGC but also for the whole province of Pampanga, especially his beloved city of San Fernando.

He unfailingly demonstrated the exceptional values in business, integrity, and compassion in all his work. His enthusiasm, quick wit, and endless charm will inspire and stay with us always. He will be remembered for his love of and dedication to the LGC as a group of companies, as a brand, as a family. He will be greatly missed.

We request that, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made and donated to the Levy P. Laus Foundation, Inc.