An INQUIRER.net report said the private plane had four passengers, Robredo, 2 pilots and one Jun Abrazado, Robredo’s aide. Abrazado reportedly survived with minor injuiries.
According to the report, the aircraft reportedly came from Mactan Airport in Cebu and was about to make an emergency landing in Masbate Airport when it crashed off at the Ibingay village in Masbate City. It was heading for Naga City, Robredo’s hometown, when the pilot sent a distress call to the Masbate Airport at around 5 in the afternoon, the report said.
Reports said search and rescue operations for Robredo and the other passengers are ongoing. There’s no word yet on Robredo’s condition, but family and friends hope that he is still alive.
In an interview with ANC, a close friend of Robredo, Jun Labadia said the DILG secretary was able to communicate with his wife, Atty. Lenny Robredo, before the incident took place.
The DILG secretary had told his wife that the plane encountered engine trouble, Lavadia revealed.
According to ABS-CBN stringer Jessie Parion, the crash site is about 300-400 meters away from the Masbate airport. There were reports that debris have been found floating near the crash area.
Speaking to ANC via phonepatch, Masbate City vice mayor Alan Cos said that rescue operations were hampered by darkness and there no sign yet of Robredo.
Meanwhile, the Wikipedia page for Robredo (at around 7:10 pm) read:
“Jesse Manalastas Robredo (May 27, 1958-August 18, 2012) is the current Secretary of the Interior and Local Government of the Philippines.”
At the top of the page, a notificiation said:
“This article is about a person who has recently died. Some information, such as that pertaining to the circumstances of the person's death and surrounding events, may change as more facts become known.”
There were reports that a local radio station aired a news that Robredo was found alive and rescued by a fisherman, which lifted the spirits of family members although they are still awaiting official confirmation from authorities.
Malacañang, meanwhile, issued an official statement Saturday night on the search and rescue efforts for Secretary Robredo.
The Palace also appealed to the public not to make speculations about Robredo’s condition.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said:
“As search and rescue efforts for Secretary Jesse Robredo and party continue, we ask the Filipino people to join the President and the cabinet in prayer for his successful rescue.
We ask that the efforts be allowed to continue unimpeded and without speculation on the part of the public. We must remain focused on the task: to find Sec. Robredo and his companions, and to bring them to safety.”