Robredo’s flight companions identifiedBy Doris C. Bongcac and Cris Evert Lato
CEBU CITY, Philippines—Interior Secretary Jessie Robredo was on board a six-seater Piper Seneca with three others when the plane crashed in waters off Masbate late Saturday afternoon.
Capt. Jessup Bahinting, owner of Aviatour Air, was the pilot of the ill-fated plane. The two others were flight student Kshitiz Chand, a Nepalese, and Robredo’s aide Jun Abrazado, who survived the crash with slight injuries.
Sources told Inquirer that a personnel from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) office booked a plane from Aviatour Air that would take Robredo from Cebu to Naga City.
Bahinting, a pastor, was born in Siquijo and raised in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. He obtained formal flight training at the Mindanao Aeronautical Technical School.
Robredo arrived in Cebu about 11 a.m. and attended the ground breaking of the Philippine Police Safety College in Consolacion town, northern Cebu.
Consolacion Mayor Nene Alegado said that during her lunch with Robredo, the Secretary commented about the humid weather in Cebu.
“Mainit dito sa Cebu. Sa Manila palagi umuulan (It is very hot here in Cebu unlike in Manila where it is always raining),” Alegado quoted Robredo saying. She replied that “it is because God loves us.”
Alegado said she asked Robredo if she could again meet him in the evening because there were some concerns which she wanted to discuss with him. But Robredo had told her that he was already leaving late in the afternoon.
“Maybe some other time,” Robredo had told her.
From Consolacion, Robredo proceeded to the Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue City to deliver his keynote speech before the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Community Investigative Support national summit.
Robredo was supposed to leave Cebu on a Cebu Pacific flight but made last minute changes.