Government officials grieve passing of 'Jess'

Kim Arveen Patria

A sad day indeed.

Government officials are in deep grief, following news of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo's demise.

"I have very sad news, Jesse has passed. His body has been recovered, will be brought to Naga. Prayers please for Ma'am Lennie and kids," Transportation Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II said via Twitter.

Robredo was found inside the wreckage of his plane, which crashed off the island of Masbate Saturday afternoon.

Vice President Jejomar Binay also offered his condolences to Robredo's family.

"I urge everyone to pray for them, that they trust God's plan for all of us. They need our wholehearted prayers and support," said Binay.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, said Robredo was a huge loss for PH.

"The nation has lost one of her finest servant-leaders. Join us in mourning and tribute."

Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim has also ordered a half-mast in schools and government offices in the city for Robredo's passing.

"Goodbye, Jesse Robredo. Salamat sa lahat ng ginawa mo para sa Bayan," added Manuel Quezon III, undersecretary at the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the Cabinet mourns the "passing of an icon of good governance and faithful stewardship."

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, for his part, tweeted: "Lord, may we find inspiration through our grief. Rest in Peace, Sec. Jesse."

Senator Pia Cayetano said in her Twitter account: "My family and I join the nation in mourning for the loss of a great Filipino servant and friend Sec. Jesse Rebredo and his companions."

Senator Franklin Drilon concurred: "Our country is grieving for we have just lost a man who had manifested genuine sincerity to serve his country."

"We mourn with the nation for the loss of a great public servant, Jesse Robredo. Our condolences to his family and the two pilots' families," Senator Edgardo Angara said via Twitter.

Officials have said retrieval operations are still ongoing for Captain Jessup Bahinting and Nepalese flight student Kshitiz Chand, who were both with Robredo.

Zambales Rep. Milagros "Mitos" Magsaysay, tweeted: "We mourn the loss of a man who has served this nation well, but most of all, a father who loved his family truly, RIP Sec. Jesse."

"Rest in peace, Sec. Jesse. Heaven is your reward for a life well-lived. You will always be an inspiration to so many," Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez said via Twitter.

Bayan Muna Patry-list Rep. Teodoro "Teddy" Casiño, for his part, said: "Deeply mourning the death of Sec. Robredo. He was one of the cabinet members who we truly respected and appreciated."

Palace officials also announced that a mass for Robredo will be held at La Salle Greenhills in Mandaluyong City at 11 a.m. Monday.

US Ambassador Harry Thomas also said in a statement: "We will miss our friendship and partnership with Secretary Robredo, as he dedicated himself to bettering the lives of the Filipino people."

"We stand with the people and government of the Philippines at this difficult time, and are prepared to assist the Philippine Government in the aftermath of this tragic accident," he added.