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Gov't to hold state funeral for Robredo

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - The government has created an inter-agency committee to arrange a state funeral for the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo who died last Saturday when his plane crashed off Masbate, the presidential palace said yesterday.

Palace Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a statement that Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. has assigned the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) to chair the meetings of the committee.

Malacañang, site of the Presidential Palace, declared national days of mourning for Robredo starting Tuesday until his burial.

The Palace also ordered all government offices in the country to fly all flags at half-staff in honor of Robredo.

Robredo was retrieved from the wreckage of the crashed aircraft about 800 meters from the shoreline in Masbate city at a depth of 60 meters at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday, said, Eduardo del Rosario, commander of the rescue task force.

In a press briefing in Masbate City, Del Rosario said the aircraft was rested on the seabed upside down. The plane was inverted and its nose had an indention, pinning down the pilots. Secretary Robredo (was) at the back (of the plane) and the door (was) no longer there, that's why the door (was) open when the divers went there," said del Rosario.

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"Despite Secretary Robredo was not on a seatbelt, he wasn't out of the plane. He was seen floating inside the airplane unlike the two plots," he said.

President Aquino flew to Masbate via the military plane C-130 and accompanied the body of the late secretary to Naga City, Camarines Sur, his home province.

Also on Tuesday, Philippine Cabinet officials mourned the loss of Robredo, whom they called the good governance champion in the Aquino administration who exemplified public service and would continue to inspire others to follow in his footsteps even after death.

Defense and military establishments also joined the whole nation in mourning the death of Robredo.

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