The remains of Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, whose airplane crashed into the sea around Masbate island, and a state funeral is already being arranged. Retrieval operations for the downed Piper Seneca are ongoing but the bodies of Robredo and his two pilots Jessup Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand have either been found or retrieved.
The drama around the crash is done and what’s left is to deal with the loss. Which means, of course, that out come the wolves, if they aren’t already. Expect wailing and hair-pulling about the state of aviation in the Philippines. There will also be much hand-washing on why Robredo’s appointment as Local Government secretary was never confirmed by the Commission on Appointments.
In fact, it has started already:
(Camarines Sur Rep. Luis, Sr., who allegedly blocked Robredo’s confirmation,) Villafuerte said Robredo’s death should not be sullied with finger-pointing. Earlier reports said Villafuerte had a falling-out with his nephew and had even fielded his own sister against Robredo in the 1992 mayoral elections in Naga City.
“In this time, dapat sana these are moments of prayer and grief and remembrance. Lahat ng mabubuting ginawa niya yun na lang ang alalahanin. Kalimutan na natin ang mga kakulangan niya dahil bigyan na lang natin siya ng tribute at commendation,” he said.
Other politicians not directly involved also found ways to insert themselves into the narrative, like so:
Lacson revealed yesterday that Robredo had been “quietly helping” him find a way to resurface without having to be put behind bars in connection with the Dacer-Corbito double murder case.
“I will always remember and be thankful to Secretary Jesse Robredo for personally albeit quietly helping me during my difficult time while in hiding,” Lacson said in a text message to the Manila Bulletin.
Comments circulating on the Internet even before the bodies were found criticized President Benigno Aquino III for taking a hands-on approach to the search and rescue operations for his friend, party mate, and member of his Cabinet. They also criticized the impressive array of assets mobilized for the operations. There was just too much fuss for a handful of people, they said, in a plea to common sense that the opposition may pick up soon.
This is, of course, valid in the sense that all opinions are, in a sense, valid. This is also rather stupid.
One has to wonder, for example, what the BRP Simeon Castro (PG-374) and Diesel Fastcraft-339, two of many boats deployed to Masbate, could have done in the face of the widespread flooding that drowned parts of Luzon earlier this month. Fire their machine guns in futile frustration, possibly.
Would deep-sea divers have been of much use during the floods? Would motorized bancas based in Masbate?
Critics have to realize, too, that the units deployed to look for Robredo and the pilots came from nearby Coast Guard stations and would not have been of much help to flood and landslide victims in Metro Manila, Central, and Southern Luzon anyway.
It isn’t like the government didn’t do anything during the floods, either. The President was also around then, distributing relief goods, and attracting criticism for early campaigning.