Aquino orders 6-day national mourning, state funeral for RobredoBy TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Jesse Robredo isn’t going to like this one bit. He eschewed VIP treatment, doing his job quietly but surely. But in death, he will be given the works: Full state honors—the highest to be accorded to a worthy son of the Republic.
The body of the late interior secretary will lie in state in Malacañang from Friday to Sunday as part of state funeral preparations, but officials have yet to decide whether this will be open to the public.
For six days, beginning Wednesday, all government buildings and installations around the country were enjoined to lower the national flag to half-staff in compliance with the President’s proclamation declaring national days of mourning for Robredo from August 21 until his interment.
The military, police and the Presidential Security Group will accord Robredo official honors, culminating in a gun salute at his interment on Tuesday in his hometown in Naga City, according to Communications Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III.
“The state funeral is the highest possible kind of a funeral that a republic can give. Whether you are a medal of valor winner or a president, the essential elements are the same. There would only be minor differences based on your rank and that’s in the number of guns in the gun salute,” Quezon said.
A state funeral is accorded to a President, Senate President, House Speaker, a national artist or a medal of valor awardee, or anybody that the President deems “worthy,” he said.
According to Quezon, full honors for Robredo will include the following:
- On Friday morning, the Philippine National Police will escort Robredo’s body from Archbishop’s Palace in Naga City to Naga Airport, and will render departure honors.
- At the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, the Armed Forces of the Philippines will render arrival honors.
- From the air base, the PSG will escort the body, and will render honors upon arrival in Malacañang, including a gun salute.
- The body will lie in state in Malacañang.
- On Sunday morning, the PSG will render departure honors, and escort the body back to Villamor Air Base.
- At the air base, the AFP will render plane side and battalion honors.
- The AFP will then again perform arrival honors at Naga Airport.
- From the airport, the body will be escorted by the PNP to Naga City Hall.
The interment is set for Tuesday. And since, it’s a state funeral, the following honors will be provided:
- An escort battalion.
- A funeral cortege with the participation of the uniformed services.
- Arrival honors at place of interment.
- Gun salute.
- Playing of taps.
- Turnover of the national flag that covered the coffin to his widow.
A book of condolences in Philippine consulates and embassies will be opened, Quezon said.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Robredo’s family had accepted the rare honor.
Malacañang announced the state funeral for the 54-year-old Robredo, whose body was retrieved on Tuesday morning from the wreckage of a four-seater light plane that crashed while attempting an emergency landing at Masbate Airport. Robredo was en route home from Cebu City, where he had delivered a speech on behalf of President Aquino.
Robredo’s remains will be flown from Naga to Manila on Friday morning, and the wake will be held in Malacañang until the body is flown back to Naga on Sunday morning.
Details to be finalized
The committee on funeral arrangements and burial has yet to decide whether the wake would be open to the public. It, however, has ruled out bringing Robredo’s body to his office at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) at his family’s request, said Quezon.
“My understanding is that for presidents, it has always been a public event,” he told reporters.
Quezon said the last time the Palace had a president lying in state was when former President Diosdado Macapagal passed away in April 1997. He noted that the remains of the late Press Secretary Cerge Remonde were also brought to Malacañang in January 2010.
“I think it was open, but, again, it was perhaps not the kind of scale that we would expect at this time,” Quezon said of the Remonde funeral. “There are all sorts of things to be considered in any arrangements … that is why we cannot tell you whether it will be open or not.”
Traditionally, wakes for presidents were held in Malacañang, but exceptions were made for some members of the official family, according to Quezon. Wakes for the country’s leaders were held in Rizal Hall, while those for the rest were done in Heroes’ Hall, he said.
“The significance of Heroes Hall is that it is named after our heroes. It is also the largest room with the sufficient dignity within the Palace itself suitable for such a public undertaking,” Quezon said.
“Everyone is invited to pay tribute to the exemplary life and work of Secretary Robredo through your testimonials and remembrances. In consultation with the media, people are encouraged to use the unified hashtag #salamatjesse for their Twitter messages. We also invite all those who wish to share their thoughts, memories, and messages of sympathy for the Robredo family to please visit www.gov.ph/salamatjesse,” he said.