LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – The family of the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo holds no bitterness towards his aide, Senior Inspector June Paolo Abrazado, who survived the tragic plane crash in Masbate last Saturday.
Aika, 24, the eldest of three daughters of Robredo and his wife Leni, yesterday said they do not have any ill feeling against Abrazado.
“Napakabuti po niya sa amin, pati sa mga kapatid ko kapag pumupunta kami sa Manila. Kaya wala po kaming masabi sa pamilya niya at sa kanya kundi nagpapasalamat pa rin kami (He was so good to us, to my siblings, every time we go to Manila. We can only say to his family and to him that we’re very thankful),” Aika said.
A resident of Naga City, the policeman has yet to go to the wake of Robredo at the Archbishop’s Palace in the city.
Abrazado reportedly remains confined in a hospital here but there were reports that he is now in Manila with his family.
He said in media interviews that he managed to unfasten the seatbelt of Robredo so they could swim out together, but he lost consciousness when the plane nose-dived.
He was kept afloat by his backpack and was subsequently rescued by fisherman Joseph Bedaboy.
After he was treated at the Masbate provincial hospital, Abrazado went back to the crash site to help search for his boss, but the effort proved futile. Robredo’s body was recovered three days later.
Aika said the praises, admiration and outpouring of love from the Filipino people are helping them cope with the loss of her father.
Aika, who has been acting as the spokesperson for the Robredo family, has shown grace, strength and composure in all her media interviews – traits she obviously acquired from her parents.
While Robredo was Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for good governance, Aika won the grand prize for the high school category of the Ramon Magsaysay Student Essay Competition in 2003 when she was 15 years old.
Leni, on the other hand, continues to exude the character of a strong woman, a loving mother and a caring wife since the tragedy.
Aika said she, her mom and sisters – Janine Patricia, 18 and Jillian Therese, 12 – are coping with the death of her father.
“Actually, my mom and my sisters, they’ve been very good and coping. They are all trying to be strong, especially my mom. Prayers and expressions of love for my Papa (are source of our strength),” she added.
She said if her father were alive and saw all the people and heard all the praises, he would surely be happy. “If he was seeing us right now, he’d be smiling, even laughing at us.”
On allegations there could be foul play in the plane crash, Aika said the family would rather not speculate on what had happened before, during and after the crash since it would not change anything.
She said they were told that when the body of her father was recovered, the former DILG chief looked very peaceful.