Government officials and foreign diplomats continued to flock the Malacañan Palace Friday to pay their last respects to Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo whose remains lie in state there before being flown back to Naga City Sunday.
President Benigno Aquino III arrived at the Palace's Kalayaan Hall Friday afternoon to join the family and members of his Cabinet in vigil.
Aquino on Friday also led the Palace's arrival honors for Robredo, who was brought to Manila from the Archbishop's Palace in Naga City where his remains were first opened to public viewing after his body was discovered early Tuesday from the wreckage of his plane which crashed off Masbate on Monday.
Newly appointed Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, meanwhile, condoled with the Robredo family right after taking her oath of office before the President at the Palace's Rizal Ceremonial Hall early Saturday.
In a statement following her appointment on Friday, Sereno said: "[T]he good governance he (Robredo) showed will also be here at the Supreme Court."
Former President Fidel Ramos also arrived at the Palace before noon Saturday to pay his last respects to Robredo.
Other members of the Aquino Cabinet meanwhile stood vigil before Robredo's remains as part of the honors accorded to the late Department of Interior and Local Government chief.
Among them were Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman, Presidential Spokeperson Edwin Lacierda and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita "Ging" Deles.
Cabinet members are also scheduled to lead a memorial service for Robredo Friday night.
The administration Liberal Party sponsored a separate service, led by its party leaders Transportation Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas, and Senators Franklin Drilon and Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan.
Local executives also visited Robredo's wake, including Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao Governor Mujiv Hattaman, League of Municipalities President Donato Marcos (Paombong, Bulacan) and League of Vice Mayors President Isko Moreno (Manila).
Diplomats also paid their last respects to Robredo. These include Ambassador Jorge Domecq of Spain, Christopher Thornley of Canada, Abdullah Al Hassan of Saudi Arabia, Saad DA Zumana of Libya, and Ahmed Mahmoud Maher Abbas of Egypt.
US Political Counselor Joy Yamamoto, Gabon Honorary Consul Ed de Guzman, and Angolan Chargé d'Affaires Fernando Miguel also took part in the vigil.
Meanwhile, the PCDSPO said condolence books opened by Philippine embassies abroad continue to be filled with messages for Robredo.
The public viewing of Robredo's remains resumed at 8 a.m.
Saturday after being closed for a private vigil at 11 p.m. Friday.
Robredo's wife Maria Leonor "Leni"; daughters Jessica Marie “Aika”, Tricia and Jillian; and brother Butch Robredo received family and friends who went to the Palace to pay their last respects.
(Text by Kim Arveen Patria; photos by NPPA)