(UPDATE) President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino is safe, after an "unscheduled stop" in a lane in SCTEX early Friday.
All five choppers, including the one carrying Aquino, had to stop due to "reduced pilot visibility," a Palace official said.
"En route to Paniqui, Tarlac, shortly before 9 a.m., the President's aerial convoy encountered heavy rains, forcing the chopper to land at the end of SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway)," Sec. Ramon "Ricky" Carandang of the Presidential Communication Development and Strategic Planning Office said.
The Presidential party is set to visit areas in Tarlac affected by floods brought by the southwest monsoon. The weather bureau via its Twitter account reported "light to moderate rains" over Tarlac and nearby areas.
The chopper landed on an area in the thoroughfare in San Miguel, Tarlac, not Bulacan as earlier reported by the PCDSPO.
Carandang claimed the lane "is not occupied by much traffic."
"[T]here was no traffic disruption. No one was injured," Carandang said, adding that Aquino was with his close-in security at the time of the "unscheduled stop."
"The convoy, after a slight delay, proceeded by land as scheduled to the areas to be visited by the President," he added.
North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …