MANILA, August 19, 2012 – With millions of Filipinos praying for the safety of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo and two others after their four-seater Piper Seneca crashed some 500 meters away from Masbate City’s airport late yesterday afternoon, a prelate from southern Philippines expressed sadness and concern.
Isabela de Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad said Robredo sent him a text message last Friday, August 17 of his scheduled visit to the strife-torn province on Tuesday, August 21.
“He would come to Basilan to act and respond to the pastoral letter I issued last August 14 concerning the deteriorating peace and order in the province,” Jumoad said.
The bishop recalled Robredo was the only Cabinet Secretary who would personally met with him whenever the government official would visit Basilan.
“He did it thrice,” Jomuad added.
In Masbate, 51-year old Bishop Jose Salmorin Bantolo said he learned only one of the four passengers has so far been rescued and was immediately brought to a local hospital.
“The three other passengers, including the pilot, his co-pilot and DILG Secretary Robredo have not been recovered,” he told CBCPNews late Saturday night.
Secretary Robredo and his aide-de-camp identified as Police Senior Inspector Jun Abrasado took the ill-fated Piper Seneca from Cebu and was bound for Naga City Saturday afternoon.
It was learned Aviatour Flight School owner Capt. Jessup Bahinting was at the pilot’s seat and was assisted by a Nepali national identified as Kshitiz Chand.
Media and police reports disclosed the plane was about to take an emergency landing at Masbate airport when the plane crashed.
Robredo was an outstanding city mayor of Naga City in Camarines Sur and was a TOYM (Ten Outstanding Young Men) awardee among other citations he received. He’s a was a grantee from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. (Melo M. Acuna)