Aquino’s Cabinet remains hopeful for Robredo, 2 pilotsBy Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — The official family of President Aquino remained hopeful that Interior and Local Governments Secretary Jesse Robredo would survive the plane crash despite the seeming lack of progress in the search and rescue operations in Masbate headed by President Aquino himself.
Failing to dampen the Cabinet’s resolve, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte announced on Sunday, over Radyo ng Bayan that Cabinet members would continue holding a prayer vigil at the National Shrine of the Divine Child in La Salle-Greenhills, Mandaluyong.
“We all remain hopeful at this point. We had that vigil yesterday, last night, and we all remain hopeful,” said Valte, who was among the Cabinet members who trooped to a prayer vigil Saturday.
“We know that Secretary Jess is a fighter. This too shall pass for all of us,” said Valte.
She exhorted the nation to continue praying for the success of the rescue operations for the secretary and the two pilots.
“We are hoping for the best and we are asking for prayers, again, for the family, for the friends, from everybody, and we thank everybody who has sent word that their communities have offered Masses,” said Valte.
She disclosed that President Aquino was with Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares when informed of the crash.
“The President wanted immediately to go to Masbate except that night has fallen, and it was not safe for the President to also go at that time. So they scheduled at the earliest possible hour,” she said.
Robredo last saw the President in Malacañang on Wednesday, said Valte.
Robredo, however, was back in the Palace, Thursday, appearing at an emergency press briefing with Secretaries Leila de Lima, National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia and Edwin Lacierda.
At the briefing, Robredo explained the reason for raising the bounty for the capture of Jovito Palparan, a retired general suspected of ordering extrajudicial killings in the past administration, and other high-profile figures facing criminal charges.
Interviewed over the phone, Masbate City Mayor Socrates Tuason described Robredo as a “silent water.”
“He worked quietly in the DILG, but we soon realized that he was already succeeding in instituting transparency and full disclosure in the government. He had many initiatives … which led to the ‘straight path,’” said Tuason, an LP member.
Tuason, for instance, cited the increase of the Christmas bonus of every police officer from P7,000 to P10,000 since Robredo took the reins of the DILG in 2010.
The mayor also recalled various reforms related to fund disbursements in the DILG and PNP, which has made it easier for national funds to go directly to the grassroots’ level. This eliminated the circuitous route of funds through the regional and provincial levels, and, in the process, lessening any chances of corruption.
Tags: Abigail Valte , Accidents , Airplane Crash , airplanes , Benigno Aquino III , Cabinet , Department of Interior and Local governments , Jesse Robredo , Local authorities , Local Governments , Malacañang , News , Presidency , public officials , Search and rescue operations