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Bacolod City, PhilippinesWednesday, August 22, 2012
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with Rolly Espina

The country mourns Robredo

Rolly Espina

As I had said yesterday, a British diver and his Filipina companion plus another Caucasian diver succeeded in finding the remains of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo yesterday. Also found inside the upended fuselage of the Piper Cessna twin engine aircraft were the remains of the pilots, Capt. Jessup Bahinting, owner-operator of Aviator Air and his co-pilot, Kahitz Chand, a Nepalese national.

Reports said the first body to be retrieved was that of Robredo. It was a little difficult to retrieve the two others because of the upended fuselage and it could be swept into deeper water.

Discovery of Robredo’s remains ended the a four-day rescue efforts by the various government agencies and private groups.

His aide-de-camp, Sr. Insp. Abarazado survived the crash. He told investigators he tried to unlock Robredo’s safety harness before he finally left the plane to save himself.

Naga City and the family of Robredo were plunged into mourning following the flash report that Robredo’s body had been recovered. Based on the announcement by the family spokesperson, there will be a vigil this afternoon at the Bishop’s palace in Naga City where the viewing public will be allowed in. Details of other arrangements have yet to be announced.

But Robredo’s remains may be brought to Metro Manila to enable the thousands of his admirers and sympathizers and friends to pay tribute to the deceased interior secretary. He was considered one of the most respected and adored government officials.

Mrs. Margaret Bahinting, widow of the dead pilot, said she accepted the fate that happened to him. And she reportedly said that Bahinting will be buried in Cebu.

But there were also indications that Bahinting is one who also deserves special tribute from the government for the many heroic acts he had done for the country and the many local government units.

Although, mostly done quietly, Bahinting reportedly flew several times to Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan to ferry materials needed by survivors and the evacuees of emergencies.

He had also flown another mission to Boracay when a flood destroyed several homes there.

Now, it seems that the minister of a Christian community, had undertaken several mercy missions which had never been credited to him in the papers or television.

Perhaps, the government may bestow on him a medal for his many philantrophic works for the underprivileged.

Leni Robredo, a lawyer, and their three daughters had asked the news media to give them privacy.

But it seems that they may give their consent to the clamor to have Robredo’s remains transported to give way to an official government ceremony which will have to be given to him who had “died with his boots on.”

It seems Robredo had already been booked on Cebu Pacific 5J-572, scheduled to leave for Manila at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

National government officials, local government executives and thousands from the private sectors all joined in mourning the passing of Robredo. He was considered by many as the most approachable Interior Secretary.

Now he is gone most likely what is going to happen is the speculation as to who will be appointed to take his place.

Prominently mentioned in the past was Senator Ping Lacson. He is most likely to be one who can fit Robredo’s shoes.

But that will come later. Meanwhile, perhaps a state funeral will be given Robredo. After all, he was on official duty when he figured in the plane mishap off Masbate.

We salute Robredo with the rest of the country for his splendid performance as interior secretary.

He was the perfect example of the Daang Matuwid program of the Aquino administration. Congratulations to him and to his family. They will have enough memories to treasure of a devoted father and public official.*

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