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MANILA, Philippines - Whoever will replace the late Jesse Robredo as head of the Department of Interior and Local Government will have "big shoes to fill" because of the late DILG chief's exemplar record as a public servant, according to the Palace.
But Malacañang isn't in a hurry to appoint the successor of Robredo, a Magsaysay awardee for good governance.
"The process for searching a new Secretary will be undertaken soon. But, in the meantime, we would like to pay our respects for Secretary Robredo. So I think that would not be a priority right now," presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said on Wednesday.
Lacierda is certain that the Palace will be having a hard time looking for Robredo's replacement. "Secretary Robredo is one of a kind... (He left) very big shoes to fill indeed," he said.
Robredo will get full military honors as part of the government's state funeral offer, which has already been accepted by the DILG secretary's family, according to Undersecretary Manolo Quezon.
Arrival honors for Robredo will be rendered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines when his remains are brought from the Archbishop’s Palace in Naga City to the Villamor Airbase in Psaay City on Friday. Departure honors will also be rendered in Naga by the Philippine National Police.
From Villamor, the escort of Robredo's body to Malacañang Palace will be handled by the Presidential Security Group, which will also render arrival honors, including the traditional gun salute.
Robredo's remains will lie in state in Malacañang until the morning of Sunday, August 26.
Quezon said the venue is still being finalized, although past funerals at the Palace were held at the Heroes Hall, the biggest room that can accommodate people who wish to pay their last respects to the DILG chief.
Robredo's interment has been scheduled for Tuesday, August 28.
Because it is a state funeral, the following honors will be rendered: an escort battalion; a funeral cortege with the participation of the uniformed services; arrival honors at the place of interment; gun salute; three volley salute; playing of taps; and the handing of the national flag that has covered the coffin to Robredo's widow.
Philippine embassies and consulates worldwide will also open their respective books of condolences for the late Cabinet official. The Department of Foreign Affairs has also opened a book of condolence for the members of the diplomatic corps in Manila.