MANILA, August 21, 2012— Catholic bishops expressed sadness over the death of Interior Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, and paid homage to a public official widely lauded for his integrity.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, expressed his condolences to the family of Robredo.
“We will always remember with gratitude secretary Jesse Robredo. At this moment, we are praying for him and of course for his family,” Palma said.
In an interview with reporters, anti-gambling crusader retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz also mourned the loss of his long-time friend.
“Underlining all these, it’s a big loss for the country and government because he is one of the most trusted and trustworthy fellow in the public service in the national level,” Cruz said.
“It’s too bad that we lost one of the few honest public officials,” he added.
The body of Robredo has been located and retrieved Tuesday after their plane crashed off Masbate City coast last Saturday.
Operations also continued to retrieve missing pilots Jessup Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand whose bodies were found inside the Piper Seneca plane.
Cruz added that Robredo deserves a hero’s burial if the latter’s family would allow that he be buried at the Heroe’s cemetery in Taguig City, Metro Manila.
“I think they should allow that because in a way the secretary already belongs to the country… in a way he belongs to a higher level of stature,” he added.
Philippine flags in all local government units around the country were flown at half mast following confirmation of Robredo’s death.
Robredo entered public service 1998 when he won as mayor of Naga City at the age of 29.
In 2000, he was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
Public viewing at Robredo’s wake is confirmed to be at the Caceres Archbishop’s residence in Naga City starting at 5pm. [CBCPNews]