Remains of Philippine Interior Minister Jesse Robredo, 2 pilots recovered

THE REMAINS of local government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo and two others were recovered by technical divers Tuesday morning three days after his plane crashed off the coast of Masbate in the Bicol region, a Cabinet official confirmed.

An emotional Transportation Secretary Manuel "Mar" A. Roxas II announced that the remains of the official were retrieved 800 meters from shore at a depth of about 180 feet.

He was brought to the surface at 8:30-8:40 a.m, Mr. Roxas said in a press briefing in Masbate broadcast over major television network.

Bodies of the two pilots, Capt. Jessup M. Bahinting, owner of Aviatour Flight School, and Nepalese copilot Kshitiz Chand, have also been retrieved.

Mr. Roxas said the remains of Mr. Robredo will be brought to his hometown in Naga City.

Mr. Robredo and two pilots went missing Saturday afternoon after the six-seater Piper Seneca attempted an emergency landing in Masbate. It was on its way to Naga from Cebu City.

The secretary's aide, Sr. Insp. Jun Abrasado, survived the crash after he jumped off the plane before it sunk.

Mr. Robredo was known for transforming Naga from a sleepy municipality to a first-class city.

Before his appointment to the Cabinet in 2010, Mr. Robredo was Naga mayor for six three-year terms, or from 1988 to 1998 and from 2001 to 2010

He was a recipient of the 2000 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, 1998 Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines and 1996 Konrad Adenauer Medal of Excellence.

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