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P-Noy leads Robredo's state funeral in Naga today

MANILA, Philippines (Aug 28, 2012) - President Aquino will confer the Philippine Legion of Honor with the rank of chief commander on the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo during burial rites today in Naga City.

Robredo, who died in a plane crash off the coast of Masbate on Aug. 18, will be given the award for his “life achievement in public service.”

The Philippine Legion of Honor is the highest award the President can bestow on an individual without the need for approval by Congress.

The casket bearing the remains of Robredo was driven around Naga City before it was brought to the Basilica Minore de Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia where the Philippine National Police (PNP) rendered arrival honors.

A bulletin of the Committee on Funeral Arrangements and Burial said the public viewing and vigil continued until 5 p.m. yesterday and a Pontifical High Mass was officiated by Leonardo Zamora Legazpi of the Archbishop of Nueva Caceres.

After the Mass, the public viewing and vigil resumed and would last until 8 a.m. today.

Aquino and members of his Cabinet were expected to be in Naga City for the burial.

After the concelebrated requiem Mass, the President will confer on Robredo the Philippine Legion of Honor.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad will read the citation during the conferment ceremonies and the President will present the insignia to Robredo’s widow, Maria Leonor.

After the conferment ceremonies, Robredo’s remains will be transported to Funeraria Imperial for the state funeral.

Based on the bulletin, the departure honors and a 19-gun salute will be rendered by the AFP while the national anthem is to be played at the Basilica.

At the crematorium, a three-volley salute will be rendered by the PNP, followed by the playing of taps by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. After the playing of taps, the national flag will be taken off the casket and folded by the PNP-AFP casket bearers, and handed over to the President. The President shall then present the folded flag to Robredo’s widow, marking the conclusion of the state funeral.

Tight security

At least 500 more police were deployed yesterday to augment the 2,000 men in uniform already deployed since the start of the wake at Robredo’s residence, in the Archbishop’s Palace, at the City Hall, and at the Basilica Minore.

The urn will be displayed inside the Eternal Garden cemetery located a few meters away from the Basilica Minore where it would stay until 8 a.m. tomorrow for the public’s final viewing and vigil.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Community Investigative Support (CIS), on the other hand, held a nationwide prayer caravan in Robredo’s honor.

CIDG chief Director Samuel Pagdilao Jr. and CIS national convenor Miguel Ortiz led the prayers in all of their regional offices and chapters nationwide as the country mourns the man they described as “remarkable and a true champion of good governance.”

The CIS National Summit was the last official function that Robredo attended on the day of the fateful accident.

Media pay last respects

Meanwhile, journalists from across Central Mindanao offered a prayer for the late interior and local government secretary and flew dozens of illuminated Japanese lanterns Saturday night to show appreciation for his accomplishments in furthering good governance in the region.

The event was attended by local officials led by South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Pingoy and Mayor Efren Piñol of Magpet, North Cotabato.

“He was most visible in Cotabato City and parts of Maguindanao when these two adjoining areas were struck by floods in 2011 after big rivers traversing villages there overflowed due to heavy rains,” Malu Cadelia-Manar, a broadcaster from Kidapawan City, said.

Robredo was among the first to respond to the violent incursions early this month by the brigand Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in five Maguindanao towns, which dislocated more than 20,000 villagers, about half of them children, women, and elderly ethnic Maguindanaon natives.

Members of Central Mindanao’s media community were taken aback by Robredo’s show cause order directing the mayors of Maguindanao towns the BIFF subjected to harassment to explain their “absence” from their respective municipalities when the bandits attacked. They said the move was unprecedented. (From