TALISAY CITY, Cebu - The family of Capt. Jessup Bahinting, pilot of the ill-fated aircraft whose wreckage yielded Cabinet Secretary Jesse M. Robredo's body and that of another occupant yesterday, said they have already accepted the fate of their loved one.
In tears, Mrs. Margarita Bahinting, 64, confirmed her family was already informed that the wreckage of the Piper Seneca plane (RP-C44431) her husband was flying last Saturday had been found under the sea less than a kilometer off Masbate.
She said it was her daughter Sarah, a registered nurse who is in Masbate monitoring the search, who told her about the retrieval of Robredo's body at 8:15 a.m. yesterday and the discovery of another body inside the wreckage.
Although the other body spotted could be that of Capt. Bahinting, 61, or his Nepalese co-pilot Kshitiz Chand, Margarita expressed gratitude to all the divers involved in the location and retrieval operations.
"Sometimes, we cannot understand why we undergo this kind of crisis. But, on the other hand, we believe that God has a purpose," said Margarita.
She said it would be a little consolation to the grieving family if the body of her husband - also a pastor and area supervisor for the Visayas of the Grace Communion International - is retrieved.
She said she never thought that the plane would malfunction because Bahinting, who was also a certified airplane mechanic, personally attended to the maintenance of the aircraft since it was her husband's favorite.
Margarita said she and Jessup had planned a routine visit to Ginatilan town, located in the midwest part of Cebu last Friday to relax at their beach resort here, but received a call from Robredo's office.
Margarita said her husband offered his pilots to fly Robredo to Naga City, but later decided to pilot the plane himself.
She said every time her husband would leave for a charter mission flight, he would kiss her goodbye without fail because he would often joke that it could be his last kiss.
Last Saturday, Bahinting was in such a hurry to fly Robredo to Naga City that he failed to kiss his wife.
"This was the only time that happened for so many years," said Margarita.
The Bahintings was set to celebrate their 37th wedding anniversary on December 14.