DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo was on board a private chartered aircraft which took off from Cebu on its way to Naga City when the six-seater Piper Seneca aircraft developed engine trouble and crashed into the waters of Masbate City Saturday afternoon.
It was reported the pilot tried to land the airplane at the Masbate airport but it reportedly overshot the runway
by around 300 meters and crashed into the sea at about 4 p.m. Saturday. Read more
Philippine President Noynoy Aquino has traveled to Masbate Sunday along with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Mar Roxas to personally oversee the search and rescue operations.
Rescuers are working on some leads found Sunday at the possible crash site which include some fragments of the ill-fated aircraft as they resume actual search and rescue operations Monday.
A flight plan which include the name of Secretary Robredo was also recovered by divers Sunday, indicating the crash site is just nearby.
“We remain hopeful that Secretary Robredo was just carried by the current... and that he will be found,” Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II said Sunday
, adding that President Benigno Aquino III is “very emotionally attached to Jesse and he is doing everything he can.”
The aide de camp of the DILG Secretary who survived the crash has joined the search and rescue operations after being treated in a hospital in Masbate City.
Officials of Philippine Coast Guard and other concerned government agencies are now in the Masbate City to pursue the leads on the crash site. They were joined by the US Fleet Survey Team to provide the needed logistical support.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Avegail Valte told Radio Ng Bayan the leadership is not losing hope to find Robredo and the pilots alive.
“We all remain hopeful at this point. We had that vigil yesterday, last night, and we all remain hopeful. We know that Secretary Jess is a fighter and… this, too, shall pass for all of us,” she said.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said via Yahoo News
a vigil is being held at the National Shrine of the Divine Child inside the La Salle Greenhills campus in Mandaluyong City for the successful rescue of the victims.
"We ask that you keep the families of Secretary Robredo and those still missing, and those engaged in rescue efforts in your prayers as well," Lacierda said.
Some close friends of Robredo believe the DILG Secretary may have survived the crash because he is a good swimmer and it is one reason they still hope to find him alive.