HE was in a hurry to go home to Naga City to treat his teenage daughter who had won a major math competition.
But Interior and Local Governments Secretary Jesse Robredo still found time to announce some good news and answer questions from local reporters in Cebu on Saturday.
During a police national summit at the Cebu International Convention Center, Robredo gave updates on the Mactan Cebu International Airport expansion project.
He said once the extension building of the airport is completed, more tourists would come.
“More people will see the beauty of Cebu and its culture,” Robredo told the audience.
He also challenged the local Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG) to search for ex-congressman Ruben Ecleo and other fugitives, whose bounty was recently increased. Robredo said more tracker teams were also assigned on the case, not just a bigger reward.
Robredo was also upbeat about the approval of the Armed Forces modernization bill.
After his speech, the secretary posed for photos and answered questions from local media while rushing out of the CICC plenary hall.
On the Balili property case, Robredo said they are just waiting for the Ombudsman’s decision and would implement whatever order is given regarding the respondents Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and seven others.
He also said he’s open to inquiries on the status of Cebu City Fire Marshall Aderson Comar and other fire marshals in the country.
“But we have to follow the law, those revamped fire marshals are already long overdue,” Robredo said.
After several minutes, Robredo excused himself and boarded a waiting Toyota Grandia for that fateful Seneca Piper flight to Naga City in the afternoon. At the regional DILG office, a Mass and prayer vigil was held on Sunday for Robredo and his two missing pilots.
Regional DILG-7 Director Ananias Vilacorta, who served seven secretaries, said Robredo was the most competent for the job. “He’s focused on good governance,” he said.
Due to the holidays, Villacorta said their employees came to their office chapel in shifts.
“I already ordered our provincial offices to hold prayer vigils until they find Robredo,” he said.
Asst. DILG-7 Regional Director Elias Fernandez invited Cebuanos to join them in storming the heavens with prayer. “Let us all pray that he is safe and alive,” he said.
Fernandez was among those who escorted Robredo to the Aviatour Air Hangar last Saturday.
He said Robredo asked him to cancel his booked Cebu Pacific 5J-572 flight from Cebu to Manila and get him on board a private plane to Naga City.
“We learned later on that he rushed to witness the awarding of his daughter who won in a competition in Naga City, Camarines Sur,” he said.
Both officials said Robredo was always on the move and talking on the phone.
“He was so busy. Maybe it was because of his desire to accommodate everything and everyone,” Villacorta said.
They said while they are praying for a miracle, they remain realistic.
Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City said he considered Robredo to have the vision and training in public service.
He said Robredo was the reason why he joined the camp of President Benigno Aquino III.
He said when he first heard about the crash, he immediately borrowed a plane from one of his supporters and left at 5 am for Masbate City last Sunday.
“I was so frustrated because I wanted to participate in the air search but the people there knew nothing,” he said.
Osmeña said he no longer plans to go back to Masbate, since the government is already there to help. Patricia Andrea Pateña and Fe Marie Dumaboc, Correspondents with Correspondent Chito Aragon