A trainer seated with Bueno rushed out of the galley, while Lakandula took Bueno with him as he pushed his way to the cockpit to issue orders to the pilots. The hijacker fired a shot into the aircraft bulkhead to force the pilots to let him in to the flight deck, while the trainer ran to the rear of the plane to find Francis Cabel, who was the head of the cabin crew assigned to the flight.
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In the cockpit, the hijacker found three pilots: Capt. Butch Generoso, navigator Capt. Edwin Nadurata, and First Officer Caloy Neri. Lakandula was waving around his handgun in his right hand, while the other hand clutched a grenade missing its safety pin. Capt. Generoso would later describe the hijacker as being "very angry, very temperamental."
In the meantime, at the rear of the aircraft, Francis Cabel was told of the situation. The senior flight attendant instructed the cabin crew members to remain calm, while he made his way to the cockpit. The hijacker locked eyes with Cabel and poked the gun at Cabel's forehead, telling him, "Mamatay tayong lahat."
Capt. Generoso told reporters that Lakandula had said that his wife had had an affair with a Davao policeman. Another eyewitness says that Lakandula had said, "Ginawa ko ito para sa mga gagong pulis sa Davao."
According to Cabel's account, however, the hijacker had said that he was doing this for money. Cabel, guessing that the masked man was from Cebu, ventured a conversation in Cebuano, saying: "Bai, igsoon ta. Wa untay mahitabo sa atong flight. Wa untay masakitan. Unsa bay imong problema kay ako tikang tabangan." Which meant: "You're my brother. Don't let anyting bad happen to our flight. Don't hurt anyone. Tell me your problem, and I will help you."
Cabel says that Lakandula said that he needed money, and so Cabel had taken out the cash from his wallet and given it to Lakandula. He also went on the PA system to ask the flight attendants to collect "voluntary donations" from the other passengers, deliberately avoiding using the words "hijacking" or "robbery" in order to prevent panic.
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The hijacker locked eyes with Cabel and poked the gun at Cabel's forehead, telling him, "Mamatay tayong lahat."
Back in the cockpit, the hijacker was demanding that the pilots turn the plane around to go back to Davao. The navigator objected, telling him that the plane didn't have enough fuel to make it all the way back.
So Lakandula instead asked someone to retrieve the backpack he'd left in his seat. When it was brought to him, he emptied it of some of its contents—a few changes of clothes—and asked that the backpack be put on him. Cabel remembered that Lakadula reeked of liquor.
Now the hijacker instructed that the pilots take him to Samar. Perhaps sensing Lakandula's confusion, the pilots steered away from Manila and told him that they were in Samar.
At this point, Lakandula got ready his next audacious move. As the plane flew over Antipolo City, he took out what appeared to be a nylon parachute from his backpack. Some of the witnesses say that the parachute looked like more like a repurposed tent.
Lakandula then asked one of the pilots to show him how to jump from the plane. During the demonstration, the pilot saw that the parachute didn't have a rip cord. He got the sash from one of the plane's curtains and attached it to the makeshift parachute.
“The guy knew what he was doing,” Cabel later said in an interview with the Sunday Inquirer. “First he demanded we go down to 10,000 feet. And then he instructed we level off at 7,000 feet. We ended off at 6,000 feet. Then he wanted the rear door to be opened. I’d say it was a planned move: he brought along a parachute. Talagang plano niyang tumalon.”
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Lakandula asked for the rear door to be opened, but he didn't seem to be aware of the physics of that move. Opening a door while in flight would cause rapid depressurization inside the plane, blowing out everything near the opening. When one of the pilots dared voice an objection, Lakandula supposedly said: "Buksan mo ang pinto, kung hindi pasasabugin ko ang ulo ng stewardess na ito. Wala na ang pamilya ko. Gaganti ako, kailangan ko ng pera."
Cabel volunteered to take the hijacker to the rear, and Lakandula walked with the steward, with the grenade pressed to Cabel's neck and the handgun jammed up to his ribs. Passengers were instructed to look down.
When they got to the back, Cabel calmly radioed the pilots to ask for permission to disengage the locks on the rear door. The pilots gave their permission, and Cabel opened the door.
Indeed, the wind knocked Cabel off his feet, and he found himself being tossed about as he held on to a harness for dear life. Lakandula himself seems to have been surprised; maybe he had second thoughts. "Hindi niya akalaing bubuksan ko. Nagulat rin siya. Sabi ko ngayon, ‘The door is open. Talon na!’ And he came back to the rear door,” Cabel told the Inquirer.
At this point, Lakandula got ready his next audacious move. As the plane flew over Antipolo City, he took out what appeared to be a nylon parachute from his backpack.