MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III is still “hopeful” that Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and the two pilots missing in a plane crash Saturday afternoon are still alive as search and rescue operations (SaR) resume this Monday morning.
“(Aquino) is very, very serious, very somber. When we had dinner late last night , he was very quiet,” Transportation Secretary Manuel “Mar’ Roxas said in Filipino in a television interview on Monday.
That night, Roxas said, the President only talked about the good times and memories with Robredo.
“He was just very quiet , very somber, very determined. The President is still hopeful. Sabi nya Mar, search and rescue ito,” Roxas added.
Aquino and Roxas and other government officials immediately flew to Masbate early Sunday or a day after a Piper Seneca plane carrying Robredo and three others crashed off Masbate waters at around 5:00 pm. Saturday.
Robredo’s aide, June Paul Abrazado, survived but the Secretary and the two pilots remained missing.
Two days after the crash, the Aquino government has no plans on giving up on Robredo and the two pilots as it launched an intensified and massive efforts to find them.
Roxas said the search and rescue operations will resume at around 10:00 am or 11:00 am with technical divers, who would probe the depths of up to 250 feet.
A special equipment from the United States called “forward looking infra-red” will also be used to detect signs of life amid the debris, he added.