Philippines Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo is among three missing after a small aircraft crashed off Masbate Bay, the state-run PNA news agency reported, citing civil aviation authorities.
One person, identified as Robredo's aide, was rescued from the crash site, civil aviation chief William Hotchkiss told PNA.
Robredo was headed to Naga City to attend a political event, the agency reported.
The Philippines Department of Interior and Local Government said on its Twitter account that the pilot sent a distress call to the Masbate airport requesting an emergency landing. It also said that Robredo was unable to get out of the plane.
However, the department deleted its messages later.
The plane never made it the airport and crashed in the ocean, Hotchkiss said.
Authorities were searching for Robredo and the two pilots, PNA reported.
Robredo is a popular minister who is known for the transformation of Naga City into a premier place under his leadership as local chief executive, according to his official biography.
He is a graduate of John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.