MANILA - Justice Secretary Leila De Lima has issued an official statement on the demise of her fellow Bicolano and colleague, Interior and Local Government Sec. Jesse Robredo, after having composed herself.
De Lima received word at 9 o'clock this morning from ABS-CBN News about the confirmation on the recovery of Robredo's remains from the ill-fated Piper Seneca plane some 800 meters off Masbate at 180-feet deep. She was then too distraught to issue an official statement.
In her statement issued close to 3 hours later, De Lima said Robredo's death is "such a great, great loss for the public service."
The two Cabinet officials worked closely in various programs since their respective departments form part of the pillars of the criminal justice system.
De Lima paid tribute to Robredo's brand of public service as well as his humility in spite of his stature in government.
"Anyone who had the opportunity to work with him, as I have, would have sensed his dedication, his sincerity and the high regard he placed on his responsibility to the people. He was, quite simply, a good man and an exemplary public servant.
"I feel his loss on a personal level also, not just because he was a fellow Bicolano, but also because our respective mandates meant that we have been working closely together over the last two years on various matters, and I know that there are still a lot of things we could have accomplished together," she said.
The justice chief noted that Robredo was, undoubtedly, "gone too soon." She noted that the Robredo family's loss is "the nation's loss" since he was an exemplary public servant.
One way of personally honoring her personal and professional relationship with Robredo was to follow through on programs and initiatives their departments had started, she added.
"I intend to honor him by vowing to carry on what we started... I, on my own behalf, and the DOJ family, join Sec. Jess's family in grieving his untimely passing," De Lima said.
The Philippine flag at the DOJ is now on half-mast.