NOTES on Jesse R

There was apparently no foul play in this corruption fighter’s death a week ago in the Philippines.  I am glad that Jesse Robredo’s wife says he lived a full life and was ready to meet the Lord.–KAS

Robredo’s widow: Jess lived a full life

Yahoo! Southeast Asia NewsroomBy Thea Alberto-Masakayan  in the Philippines

The wife of the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, Atty. Leni and daughters Aika, Patricia and Jillian joins Robredo’s' followers during the Holy Mass for the public viewing at the Archbishop’s Palace in Naga City (Ryan Lim, MPB, NPPA Images).View Gallery

The wife of the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, Atty. Leni and daughters Aika, Patricia and Jillian joins Robredo’s’ followers during the Holy Mass for the public viewing at the …more 

Lawyer Leni Robredo, whose husband Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo died in a plane crash, is now the epitome of grace and strength as she calmly deals with the tragedy.

“No regrets. Alam ko he lived a full life, he fulfilled all his dreams,” the widow said in a televised press conference, when asked if she would have preferred a private life for Robredo.

Leni recalls that her husband always found time to be with the family, despite his busy schedule. She recounted that Robredo even gave her an improvised bouquet in their last wedding anniversary.

“Hindi ko alam na darating siya, meron siyang bundle of flowers,” Leni recalls.

And beneath the public official’s strict persona in law enforcement and policy-making lies a father who wanted only the best for his three children.

“Wala na daw siyang panaginip para sa sarili niya, para na lang sa mga anak niya,” Leni adds.

The fateful day

On the day of the plane crash, Leni said she was constantly in contact with the late Interior secretary.

“He wants to be home. Akala niya matatapos ‘yung okasyon at 5 pm. He knew wala na siya maabutan so I thought hindi na siya tutuloy. But a staff member told me tutuloy. Tuwang tuwa kasi siya pag nasusurpresa kami,” Leni said.

Robredo was rushing home because he wanted to congratulate his daughter.

Leni said that at around 3:15 pm, Robredo told her he has boarded the plane and that the expected time of arrival was at 4:15.

“I drove to Pili airport, just before i reached the airport, he texted me ‘balik ang plane sa Cebu’,” she said. At around 4:40 she said she was still able to contact Robredo who answered: “Ma, may inaasikaso ako, tawagan na lang kita.”

And that was it.

Hours later, news broke that the Naga-bound Piper Seneca plane crashed off Masbate. Long, grueling hours of search and rescue operations followed. Two days after, Robredo was retrieved from the plane’s fuselage. Since then, Leni exuded calm and strength.

“Lubos ang aming pasasalamat sa lahat ng nagpaabot ng pakikiramay. Malaking bagay po sa pagharap namin ng kalungkutan ‘yung pagmamahal na ipinakita ng lahat. Napakarami na palang buhay na kaniyang natouch,” said Leni.

Robredo was ‘ready’

Leni said Robredo was “ready” to go.

“I think he was prepared to face the Lord. Napakadalas mangumpisal, in a month. Handang handa ‘yun. I didn’t even question kung bakit siya kinuha ng maaga [why he was taken away early],”the widow said.

And although Robredo had to face a tragic end, it was probably the best plan for him, said Leni.

“While tragic kasi hindi kami na-prepare, yung klase ng death na inabot niya, reward yun sa lahat ng magandang ginawa niya,” she added.

Leni expressed sadness though that Robredo, a devotee of the Our Lady of Penafrancia for several years, would no longer be at the fluvial procession this September.

“Palagay ko siya [Robredo], andyan pa rin siya. Siguro malungkot ‘yung fiesta kung wala siya,” Leni said.

Leni also thanked all who sent their sympathies from all over the country.

“Hindi ko alam kung ano ginawa ng asawa ko..pero ang sarap na consolation lahat ng lalapit sa akin, yung asawa mo ganito ang ginawa para sa akin. Hindi lang po kami nakaramdam ng lungkot. Alam namin magiging masaya yung asawa ko,” she added.


About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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9 Responses to NOTES on Jesse R

  1. eslkevin says:

    Jesse Manalastas Robredo (May 27, 1958 – August 18, 2012) was a Filipino statesman who served as Secretary of the Interior and Local Government in the administration of President Benigno Aquino III from 2010 to until his death in 2012.[4] Robredo was a member of the Liberal Party.
    Beginning in 1988, Robredo served six terms as Mayor of Naga City in Camarines Sur. In recognition of his achievements as Naga City mayor, Robredo was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 2000, the first Filipino mayor so honored. He was appointed to the Cabinet of President Aquino in July 2010.[4]
    On August 18, 2012 (PHT), the Piper PA-34-200 Seneca I aircraft (registered RP-C4431) carrying Secretary Robredo crashed off the shore of Masbate City.[5][6][7][8] He was scheduled to go home and watch his daughter’s swimming competition in Naga City. The Philippine Department of Interior and Local Government said that the pilot sent a distress call to the Masbate airport requesting an emergency landing. The plane never made it to the airport and crashed in the sea.[9][10] His body was retrieved three days later, August 21, 800 meters from the shore and 180 feet below sea level. [11]
    Contents [hide]
    1 Early life
    2 Education
    3 Early career
    4 Mayor of Naga City
    5 Secretary of the Interior and Local Government
    6 Death
    7 See also
    8 References
    9 External links
    [edit]Early life

    Jesse Manalastas Robredo was born on May 27, 1958 in Naga City. Robredo was a second-generation Chinese Filipino and was the third of five children (one of Jose Chan Robredo Sr. and Marcelina Manalastas two sons and three daughters).[citation needed]
    Robredo’s paternal grandfather was a Chinese immigrant named Lim Pay Co who arrived in the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century. Lim Pay Co would later convert to Christianity and adopt the name, Juan Lim Robredo, because it was a custom that Chinese immigrants who convert to Christianity adopt the name of their godparents at baptism. Lim Pay Co chose the name of the priest who baptized him.

    Robredo studied at Naga Parochial School, a private Catholic school in Naga City, for his elementary education. While studying there, Robredo began to hone his talent and love for the game of chess. Naga Parochial School was known and had established a record for winning Bicol’s annual province-wide chess tournament and Robredo’s brother had been among its champion competitors. However, when it was Robredo’s turn to represent his school, Robredo only garnered second place.
    In 1970, Robredo studied at Ateneo de Naga and in September 1972, when Robredo was in the middle of high school, President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law. Ateneo de Naga and its administration immediately called for an assembly and warned its students against getting involved in anti-government activities and efforts that this may result to the school’s exposure to the risk of closure.
    Robredo obtained his undergraduate degrees in Industrial Management Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at De La Salle University. Robredo was an Edward Mason Fellow and a graduate of Masters of Public Administration at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1999. In 1985, Robredo finished his Masters in Business Administration at the University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City, as a scholar and was named the Graduate School and Faculty Organization awardee for scholarly excellence.[12] Far Eastern University recognized Robredo’s exemplary governance of Naga City since his first term in 1988 and all the way to his succeeding terms. The mayor was then on his third term, and Naga City since his assumption into office has progressed from a third-class city to a first-class one. He was conferred a doctorate in Humanities, honoris causa, by FEU during its 80th commencement exercise held at the plenary hall of the Philippine International Convention Center on April 4, 2008.[13]
    [edit]Early career

    In 1980, Robredo worked for the San Miguel Corporation in Mandaluyong City, in the Physical Distribution Technical Services of the General Services Division, and within six months, Robredo had hurdled two of the three levels in the division and was then sent to the finance division for another six months.
    When Robredo’s immediate superior was moved to Magnolia Ice Cream, San Miguel Corporation’s ice cream division, Robredo was invited to come along. At Magnolia Ice Cream, Robredo was assigned to logistics planning and concurrently, he functioned as staff assistant to the physical distribution director.[14]
    In 1986, Robredo returned to Naga City, where he became Program Director of the Bicol River Basin Development Program, an agency tasked to undertake integrated area development planning in the three provinces of the Bicol region.
    [edit]Mayor of Naga City

    In 1988, Robredo was elected mayor of Naga City at age 29.[14] The youngest mayor in the Philippine history. His three term as mayor ended on June 30, 1998.[15] He again bid as city mayor from June 30, 2001 and again finish his three term on June 30, 2010.[15] Total of 19 years as Naga City mayor before he as appointed on July 9, 2010 as secretary of Department of Interior and Local Goverment Robredo was able to transform the city from being dull and lethargic to being one of the “Most Improved Cities in Asia”, as cited by Asiaweek Magazine in 1999.[12]

    During his time as mayor of Naga City, Robredo was credited for “dramatically improved stakeholdership and people participation in governance, in the process restoring Naga to its preeminent position as premier city of the Bicol Region.”[12] In 1995, in recognition of his skills and competence as a leader and development manager, Robredo was elected President of the League of Cities of the Philippines, the national association of city mayors. Robredo also chairs the Metro Naga Development Council.”[12] From 1992 to 1998, Robredo was also elected Chairman of the Regional Development Council, the regional planning and coordinative body of Bicol’s six provinces and seven cities.”[12]
    [edit]Secretary of the Interior and Local Government

    From June 30 to July 9, 2010, President Benigno Aquino III was Secretary of the Interior and Local Government,[16] until Aquino named Robredo as Interior Secretary.[4] At least two politicians from Bicol, Luis Ortega and Luis Villafuerte, Sr. expressed opposition to Robredo’s confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of which Villafuerte himself was a member.[17] In March 2012, the Commission on Appointments bypassed Robredo’s nomination. [18] His nomination was bypassed again in June of 2012.[19] Another confirmation hearing had reportedly been set on August 29, 2012, eleven days after Robredo’s sudden death.[20]
    Vice President Jejomar Binay initially wanted to become Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, however, Aquino stated that the post is not being considered for him,[21] but has offered Binay various positions, such as, to head a commission that will investigate the outgoing Arroyo administration, the posts of Secretary of Agrarian Reform, chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), and the chairman of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), but Binay refused.[22] However, on July 15, 2010, Binay has accepted the offer of Aquino to take charge of the housing sector as chairman of HUDCC.[23]

    An infographic distributed on the social media that shows salutation for the Interior secretary, Jesse Robredo. The poster translates: “The Philippines lost one of her finest servants. Rest in peace, Hon. Jesse M. Robredo. Dios Mabalos!”
    See also: 2012 Philippine Piper Seneca crash
    On August 18, 2012, he boarded a Piper Seneca airplane from Cebu City going to Naga City, when the plane’s pilots, Captain Jessup Bahinting along with co-pilot Nepalese flight student Kshitiz Chand decided to make an emergency landing at the Moises R. Espinosa Airport in Masbate City due to engine failure. The aircraft carrying Secretary Robredo along with his aide, Don Abrazado crashed off the shore of Masbate Island.[5] His aide survived the crash. Search and recovery operations were conducted by Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force and the local government of Masbate, with assistance from a number of foreign technical divers.
    Robredo’s body was found at 8:15 AM, Tuesday, August 21, 2012 (PHT). The news was confirmed by DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas. He said the body was found 800 meters (2,600 feet) off Masbate at 54 metres (180 feet) deep.[24]
    [edit]See also

    Naga City
    Department of Interior and Local Government
    2012 Philippine Piper Seneca crash

    ^ “Jesse Robredo feared dead after plane crash”. Coolbuster. August 18, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
    ^ a b
    ^ a b c “Jesse Robredo named DILG chief”.
    ^ a b “Robredo’s plane crashes off Masbate”. ABS-CBN News. 18 August 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
    ^ “Robredo’s ill-fated plane: Chronology of events”. Inquirer News (Manila). August 19, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
    ^ “Rescuers search for Robredo, 2 pilot”. Phil Star. AP (Manila). August 19, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
    ^ “Officials still hanging on hope for DILG chief”. Sun Star (Manila). August 20, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
    ^ “Philippines interior secretary missing in plane crash”. CNN. 18 August 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
    ^ “Small plane carrying DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo crashes off Masbate”. GMA News. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
    ^ “Robredo’s body found”. Office of the President (Philippines) Newsroom. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
    ^ a b c d e “Jesse Manalastas – Robredo Naga City Government Website”.
    ^ a b “Philippine top minister feared dead in crash”. Al Jazeera. 19 August 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
    ^ a b “Tribute to DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo”. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
    ^ Ager, Maila (June 29, 2010). “Aquino names Cabinet, takes DILG helm”. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
    ^ “Local Politicians to Give Robredo Tough Time at CA”. 2011-5-31. Retrieved 2012-8-21.
    ^ “5 Cabinet members, envoy to China bypassed by CA”. 2012-3-22. Retrieved 2012-8-21.
    ^ “CA bypasses De Lima, 4 other Cabinet members for nth time”. 2012-6-6. Retrieved 2012-8-21.
    ^ “Malacañang advised to get official plane for Noy, Cabinet”. 2012-8-20. Retrieved 2012-8-21.
    ^ Ager, Maila (June 23, 2010). “Binay meets Aquino, declines Cabinet post”. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved June 25, 2010.
    ^ “Binay offered new office to probe Arroyo”. ABS-CBN News. June 24, 2010. Retrieved June 25, 2010.
    ^ “VP Binay is new housing czar”.
    ^ Robredo found dead. ABS-CBN News, Retrieved on August 21, 2012

  2. eslkevin says:

    The Jesse Robredo in me

    By Marisa Lerias
    Posted at 08/24/2012 2:27 AM | Updated as of 08/24/2012 2:29 AM
    The recent events surrounding the untimely demise of our Kaya Natin co-founder, DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, has sent the Filipino people on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. We were gripped with fear, hope, anxiety, denial, anguish, resignation and acceptance. All these have now settled into complete surrender to our God Almighty whose omnipotence and great mercy we plead to for strength during this painful ordeal.

    A fellow KN core member and BCDA President, Arnel Casanova, said that he did not realize it was possible for a man to be the cause of a deep ache in his chest. He likened it to being rebuffed during courtship. My brows lifted with a soft chuckle at the analogy as we struggled to grasp the finality of Sec Jess being gone. In truth, I was ready to release the floodgates of my tears (once again), howl at the moon and weep with heart wrenching sobs at the seemingly unfair treatment that fate dished out to my Kaya Natin family.

    I can continue on until the end of this article with nothing other than expressions of sorrow and lamentations that mirror the sentiments of a grieving nation. However, this will not be an accurate reflection of Jesse Robredo‘s character. I seriously doubt if he shares my penchant for melodramatics. He may just creep into my dreams tonight to hammer some sense into my head. I can almost hear his encouraging words to each one of us in his Kaya Natin family. “Whenever you feel alone in this fight for good governance, work harder to multiply yourself”. This is exactly what he did.

    The outpouring of grief that spread throughout our country in the passing away of our beloved Secretary Jesse Robredo was something that I didn’t expect. When I first joined the KN crusade, the phrase” good governance” was mere words descriptive of an illusion. We were called dreamers living in a world of make believe. I held on tightly to our sanctuary as we spread the word of good governance. We found ways to create programs that would reach out to the poor and rekindle the fire of hope for a government that would truly care for its people.

    Secretary Robredo’s brand of leadership was effective, transparent and participatory. He didn’t believe in a single individual having a monopoly of brilliant ideas and was prepared to engage anyone in an exchange of opinion until a collective decision is arrived at. I distinctly recall the first KN Strategic Planning Retreat that I attended. I found myself seated beside Sec Jess who was in an animated discussion with Sen. TG Guingona, Gov Grace Padaca, Among Gov Panlilio, Cong Bolet Banal, Cong Teddy Baguilat, Cong Kaka Bag-ao, ULAP Executive Director Sonia Lorenzo, Board Member Shirlyn Macasarte, Mayor Jun Verzosa , other KN Champions and Core Group members. He was lounging lazily on his seat and he’d kicked off his slippers happily crossing his ankles and listening to everyone. I was enjoying the flow of thoughts and easy banter around the room. Ranks and titles were transcended as value for individual opinion was given due respect. I slouched deep into my seat content with being an observer at all that was transpiring until I got poked with an elbow by Sec Jess who was seated to my right. He looked at me with a grin and asked me to say something. I found it difficult to believe that he was genuinely interested to hear what I had to say. I was struggling with composing intelligent thoughts that I should have just recited the Desiderata if it was going to impress this man. I had a dumbstruck look on my face and all I could say was “pass” and pointed to Harvey who was seated on my left. I wanted to hide in embarrassment thinking that the guys seated around the table probably thought I was playing Black Jack. Subsequently, I learned that this was part of the Jesse Robredo persona – a genuine individual with no intention to impress. He was an open and honest man

    He was also very mindful of individual predicaments. Sec Jess was aware that I have a regular job which meant that I would be in my office during working hours. Two months ago I received a text message from him. It said “Kindly text if you can take a call”. I almost fell off my seat because I didn’t think that someone of his stature would be humble enough to seek my permission. A few days before he died, he personally called up an auntie of mine who was texting him encouraging messages. She couldn’t believe it. My auntie, Divina Lao, was in cloud nine with joy. She was speaking 200 words per minute, hardly skipping a beat, when she rattled off her story to me. He was a very humble man.

    In his early months as the DILG Secretary, Jess Lorenzo (a fellow KN Core Group member) and I had the privilege of representing Kaya Natin at a gathering of Civil Society Organizations, Non-Government Organizations and People’s Organizations where the Department launched the Seal of Good Housekeeping program and the Full Disclosure Policy. I was surprised to see all the international funding agencies aptly represented in the event. The Country Director of the World Bank expressed his full support to this endeavour to push for transparency and accountability. Internationally acclaimed institutions such as AUSAID, USAID, GIZ, JICA, CODE NGO and many others all sang praises to the newly appointed DILG Secretary and spoke very highly of his achievements as Mayor of Naga City. He took his responsibilities seriously and worked diligently to improve the quality of governance in our country.

    There were occasions when we would gather together casually just to catch up on how each one was doing. I wouldn’t forget that faithful Saturday afternoon two years ago when my Kaya Natin family was gathered in the porch of my home for a simple lunch to discuss our plans and celebrate my birthday. It was very informal. Harvey Keh casually said Sec Jess might drop by because he was overwhelmed with work and was looking for sanctuary too. I just nodded my head but deep inside I was saying to myself “Yeah right, Harvs, stop pulling my leg.” After about 30 minutes, Sec Robredo climbs up my staircase with his two daughters and said “Balita ko may pagkain daw dito” (I heard there is food here). He grabbed a plate, gave each of his daughters one and feasted on our leftovers without complaint. Over lunch he talked about his problems as DILG Secretary and the challenges that he faced. He never pretended that he had the solutions to everything. He made us understand that he too was an ordinary Filipino like the rest of us needing help and encouragement to continue the fight for good governance.

    More importantly, Secretary Robredo never missed an opportunity to remind us that he was a friend. ULAP Executive Director, Sonia Lorenzo, stated that whenever she was demoralized because of the challenges that we faced in this journey, Sec Jess would say “Hey, you have a friend here”. On a personal note, he confronted me with a statement saying that I would be a hypocrite if my pursuit to propagate our advocacy allowed me to help many Filipinos yet I shied away from those that I hold most dear – the people of my province, Southern Leyte. I had to dig into my box of excuses to say that I had neither funds nor logistics to confront the giants of corruption in my home. He pulled me aside one day and said “Go home. Why do you need money? You have Kaya Natin and you have me.” I walked away convinced that I was adequately equipped with the tools that I needed for battle. This has strengthened my resolve to pursue the dream for a better province and a better nation. Sec Jesse Robredo was a pillar of strength.

    On this note, I say that he paved the way to greatness from the seeds of simplicity, humility and integrity. He practiced the values that Kaya Natin espoused – effective, ethical and empowering leadership. If there is anything that we, at Kaya Natin unanimously agreed to do, it is to continue what is no known to be the Robredo legacy.

    I stand tall and proud to proclaim that Sec Jess has planted the seed of patriotism within me. I’ve searched for so many days for an explanation and meaning to this inexplicable tragedy. I have found only one. It is to accept the wisdom of an omniscient God who has made certain that Jesse Robredo’s mission on earth has been accomplished. The millions of Jesse Robredo seeds that have been planted in our country will be nurtured and its fruits will be the building blocks which he says will be painstakingly piled up one by one until we build that proper structure that can propel this nation to greatness.

    God speed to our beloved Kaya Natin co-founder, Jesse Robredo, on your final journey home to the Father. Your life was a testimony of true dedication to our country. In one of my last text messages to you, I said that I will strive to be a Kaya Natin Champion just like you. You have my word…


    Marisa Lerias is originally from Southern Leyte and currently works with the Philippine office of British Airways. She is also part of the core group of Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership.

    Comments are welcome at

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