MANILA, Philippines – Margarita Bahinting, the widow of Capt. Jessup Bahinting, says their family has already accepted the pilot’s death and is hopeful that their faith will help them make it through the difficult time.
Bahinting was one the pilots of the ill-fated Piper plane carrying Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and his aide, June Abrasado, which crashed off the coast of Masbate late Saturday.
After three days of search and rescue operations, divers discovered the fuselage of the plane around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday 800-meters from shore at a depth of 180-feet.
At 8:15 a.m., it was confirmed that one of the bodies belonged to Robredo. His remains were brought to shore at 8:40 a.m.
Retrieval operations for Bahiting's body, along with that of his co-pilot, a Nepalese identified as Kshitiz Chand, are ongoing.
“Alam ko na he is already dead. Tinanggap ko na kasi I know it is God’s will, na hanggang doon na. I cannot go against God’s will, but it is really painful na nawala na siya,” Margarita said in an interview with radio DZMM.
Margarita is currently in their hometown of Cebu. Their daughter, Sarah, is in Masbate and was the one who informed her mother than Bahinting’s body had been found.
“Tumawag yung anak ko sabi n’ya, ‘Daddy is so loving to you, but God is taking him already. He has already done his task in this earth, so huwag ka ng masaktan masyado,’” Margarita said in a separate interview with ANC.
Margarita said she was with their family and friends while Tuesday morning while they were waiting for news about her husband.
“We were praying that God will give me a calm heart, that he will give me the strength to go on forward,” she said.
“I have just been thankful to God because this morning, I was praying na ma-retrieve na ang mga katawan nila, na sana hindi na matagal,” she added. “Whether they are dead or alive, as long as makita ko ang katawan.”
Margarita said she believes her husband’s death is but a test from God.
“I really accept it but it’s really painful that God allows me to undergo this kind of trial,” she said, adding that just last week, she had given a Bible study on “what it means to have total surrender to God.”
“Ako pala ang pina-undergo niya,” Margarita said. “Sabi ko, ako ang nagsasalita pero ako pala ang pinadaan niya sa masakit na pagsubok, para ma-feel ko what I said to the people.”
She is hopeful that their strong faith will help them through the difficult times, believing that death is “not the end of itself.”
“Ang plano namin is to just accept it, because death is not the end itself. It is only a transition to reality, the reality that we will be with Him forever,” Margarita said.
Bahunting would have turned 61on November 30. He and Margarita would have celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary on December 14. They have three children.