MANILA, Philippines - That afternoon when the plane carrying Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse M. Robredo and three others crashed in Masbate, people from various parts of the country who felt helpless watching the heartbreaking news from the television and radio decided to unite online and start to #prayforjesse.
In social networking site Twitter, the beloved DILG Secretary immediately became one of the trending topics, as people began to #prayforjesse and clamor for updates about #RobredoRescue.
As search and rescue teams scourged the sea of Masbate for hours, looking for the plane and its passengers, people poured their sympathy and wishes online.
Many expressed their admiration for Robredo, calling him one of the ''good guys'' of the government. Television host and celebrity Daphne Osena Paez (@DaphneOP) wrote, ''He struck me as a devoted family man. And his knowledge about development work was impressive. Sincere.''
One of his closest friends, Department of Transport and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Mar Roxas (@MARoxas) appealed to the public: ''Please pray for safe return of Jess Robredo, isa sa pinaka matinong tao sa mundo.''
Senator Pia Cayetano (@piacayetano) wrote: ''Praying for Sec. Jesse Robredo. I know him personally. He is such a good man and public servant.''
On the other hand, motivational speaker Anthony Pangilinan (@apangilinan) shared an instance when Robredo was able to help him out. ''Sec. Jesse has personally helped me search and rescue abducted children in my role as officer-in-charge of anti-human trafficking at Called to Rescue. Let us pray for his search and rescue now,'' he said.
Author RJ Ledesma (@rjled), meanwhile, called on angels to protect Robredo. ''DILG Sec. Robredo is a good, good man and is a sterling example of a public servant. Let us pray that his guardian angel keeps him safe,'' he said.
Other well-known personalities, such as newscaster Julius Babao (@juliusbabao) wrote, ''Let us pray for the safety of DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo and his team. Their plane went missing in Masbate today. Search and rescue ops ongoing.'' Cheche Lazaro (@chechelazaro) also said, ''Storming the heavens for safe return of a good man, Jesse Robredo. May his whole team be safe.''
Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon (@ruffybiazon) shared the same sentiment: ''Lord, send your angels to bring Sec Jesse and his companions to safety.''
Even government agencies Department of Education (@DepEd_PH) wrote, ''We are one with the nation in praying for the safe rescue of DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo and his companions.'' The Philippine Information Agency (@PIANewsDesk), meanwhile said, ''Patuloy po tayong magdasal sa matagumpay na paghahanap at pagliligtas kay DILG Sec. Robredo.''
Even the public had several heartwarming messages to the DILG Chief. A. Serafino (@arriane_) said, ''Our generation still has so much to learn from you, Sec. Jesse. Walang iwanan, sir.''
Sherwin Saavedra (@whinsaavedra) said, ''Jesse Robredo is one of the reasons that I'm proud to be a Bicolano. He changed Bicol politics with his leadership and humility.''
And Mary Anne Zerrudo (@attyathome) tweeted what everybody is hoping, deep down in their hearts: ''God has a way, even when it seems that there is no way.''
Shortly after news of the plane crash were posted in on-line news site, prayers and hope for Robredo and the two pilots immediately swamped every news item relating to the story.
''God! please let him be safe,, we bicolanos adores him so much of his clean and honest performance as a public servants,'' according to netizen Elisa Junio Regaspi which was posted on interaksyon.com.
Robredo is a a Bicolano who served as mayor of Naga City in Camarines Sur before he was appointed by President Aquino to head the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
''... he is one of the honest members of Aquino's cabinet, pls. pray for this guy that he's alive and well,'' Edwin Dalisay said.
''Sana ligtas silang lahat...,'' according to patrick sotrina in his comment posted on the on-line news of GMA Network.