Robredo always wanted to be back in Naga, says PunoBy Kristine Felisse Mangunay
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Even before his last flight on Saturday, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo had been taking side trips after his out-of-town activities, using any means of transportation available, to visit his family in Naga City.
“[He was a family man, so] he always wanted to be back in Naga just to be with his family, and for him [any mode of transportation would do],” Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno told reporters after a morning Mass at La Salle Green Hills in Mandaluyong City Monday.
Puno said Robredo was booked on a Cebu Pacific flight to Manila at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, but because he wanted to get to Naga earlier, he dropped the initial booking and took a private plane instead.
“‘It’s OK, [Secretary Robredo] said. I have another plane,’” Puno quoted Robredo as saying.
“I assumed that he was taking the regular airplane that we usually took … but I didn’t know that they arranged something there at the Cebu airport,” said Puno, who attended the same conference Robredo attended at the Cebu Convention Center on Saturday.
He said Robredo wanted to get to Naga so badly that even the pilot he wanted to fly the private plane was not the same one who usually took him to places.
“I know the pilot of the plane that he usually took, so my initial instinct was to call up [that pilot],” Puno said.
At 2:30 p.m., Robredo left the convention center, Puno said.
The Piper Seneca, he said, took off at 3:06 p.m. from Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).
Then at 3:33 p.m., Jun Abrasado, Robredo’s aide de camp, texted Col. Ritchie Posadas, chief of the Police Center for Aviation Security-7 (PCAS-7) at MCIA, he said.
“‘Sir, we are headed back. There’s accordingly a problem with the propeller. Magchance passenger kami pabalik,’” Puno said, quoting the text message from Abrasado.
Puno said Mactan airport authorities booked Robredo on another Cebu Pacific flight to Manila that was leaving at 5 p.m.
At 4:22 p.m., Puno said Abrasado texted to say that the light plane was making an emergency landing in Masbate.
PCAS-7 personnel called Abrasado, Puno said, and when Posadas asked how Robredo was, Abrasado replied that all of them were all right and Robredo was talking to his wife.
“That was the last [communication],” Puno said.
“It hurts me because we were together in Cebu. I was the last official that he talked to before he [took that plane],” Puno added.