NAGA CITY—Senior Insp. June Paolo Abrazado is still struggling to find peace of mind after surviving the plane crash that killed then Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and their two pilots off the coast of Masbate City on Aug. 18.
During the 40th day observance here of the death of the former secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Abrazado, 27, Robredo’s police aide, said he has to live with the “guilt” that came with being the lone survivor and the question why he has to be the one who survived.
Abrazado, who has since returned to his job at the Philippine National Police, was with his wife Lourvila, 24, and 2-month-old son Blaze.
The impact during the crash kept on playing over and over in his mind, he said, and failing to understand how he survived, he could only say that it must have been a miracle.
He also felt conflicted after the media reported false accounts of how he survived, including a report that he jumped out of the plane which he found impossible to happen.
“There is nothing to explain to those who criticize me … I understand why they don’t even consider the injuries I suffered after the crash and the trauma it brought me,” he said.
He said it is a “mortal sin” for an aide like him, no matter how impossible the circumstances, to have failed to save the person he was sworn to protect.
“I was very willing and prepared to give my life for Sir Jess. When I accepted the job as his aide I knew very well my responsibility and the things I should sacrifice without any mental reservation … that includes my life,” he said.
He said he was thankful to the families of Robredo and his widow who supported and inspired him to move on and defended him from negative speculations.
He also wanted to thank his lifesaver, Joseph Delfin Beldaboy, the fishermen who plucked him from the sea shortly after the plane went down.
Abrazado said Beldaboy took the courage to rush to the crash site even as everyone was prohibited from going near the crashed plane because of the danger that it might explode.
He also extended his gratitude to his family, relatives, friends, the Masbate Philippine National Police, Coast Guard, local officials and other people who supported and encouraged him to be strong amid adversity.
“The first week after the crash I wished I didn’t wake up and things could have been easier for everybody. But the people who took care and supported me made me realize that there is more in life to live for, specially with my wife and child,” Abrazado said.
He recalled how Jesse treated him like his own son.
“I am alive today not because of my abilities, but by a stroke of luck that only God knows why. I do not know what God has planned for me. I have always believed that everything happens in God’s will. And if this is all God’s will, it is my great honor having been beside Sir Jess up to the last moment before God took him,” Abrazado said.