August 21, 2012 00:00
By Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia
Technical divers have recovered the body of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, Transportation and Communication Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas said on Tuesday.
An emotional Roxas broke the “sad news” at a briefing at 9:15 a.m., saying that Robredo’s body was found 800 meters from the shore at a depth of 180 feet at 7:45 a.m .
“The body has indications that it belongs to Sec. Jess,” said Roxas as he tried to fight off tears.
The remains of the Department of Interior and Local Government chief has been pulled from the fuselage and brought by rubber boat to one of Philippine Coast Guard’s vessels. It is now on its way to Naga City, Roxas said.
Recovery was difficult as the fuselage had overturned but operations continued to retrieve the bodies of the two pilots who were found inside the Piper Seneca plane. “Nakasubsob ‘yung dalawang piloto sa loob ng cockpit kaya si Sec. Jesse ang unang nakuha ng diver (The two pilots were inside the cockpit that’s why they recovered Sec. Jesse’s body first),” said Roxas.
“Sa pamilya nina Captain [Jessup] Bahinting and the Nepalese co-pilot [flight student Kshitiz Chand], tuloy po ang recovery operations. Hindi ito para lang kay Sec. Jesse (The recovery operations for the remains of Captain Bahinting and the Nepalese co-pilot are ongoing. This is not only for Sec. Jesse),” said Roxas.
President Benigno Aquino III has been told about the development and has personally informed the DILG chief’s wife, lawyer Leni Robredo.
“The President has already called Mrs. Leni,” said Roxas.
Roxas asked the media and the public to give the Robredo family time to cope with what has happened. He also told them not to disrupt forensic experts who will be examining the bodies.
The official confirmation came after four days of massive search and rescue operations headed no less by President Aquino.