RELATED POSTS: "Robredo for President? Why Not?", "The Robredo We All Knew", "People Power Thrives in Naga City"
My wife and I have been among the thousands who anxiously waited for news about SILG Jesse Robredo, hoping that despite the odds stacked against him he still managed to survive the plane crash, that as one online commenter wrote, "Sana ay napadpad lang siya sa kalapit isla ng Masbate."
Now that his death has just been confirmed, we shake our heads and cry in frustration and disbelief that a truly good man, an inspirational political leader, was not given a new lease on life while hordes of money and power-hungry politicos across the country continue to drink life's cup bottoms up with nary a care about their constituents nor a tinge of guilt for their crimes against the people.
This sentiment is common among many who commented online on this tragedy. Here are some of them:
sayang ...kung cno pa ung may mabting kalakaran xa pa ang nawala....rest in paece..mr.ROBREDO.
(Levis Sacarez, 08.21.2012, )
hnd pa ang mga corrupt ang mga namatay katulad ng mga arroyo family marcos fammfamily
Nakakalungkot na kung sino pa ang masipag, mapagpakumbaba, at totoong lingkod bayan ay sya pang nakakaranas ng mga ganitong aksidente... ang mga buwaya, corrupt, epal, at mga ganid ay sina namang nagpapalaki lang ng tiyan sa paligid...
(Alan Roy, Manila. 8.20.2012)
We'll be more than happy to give you Tito Sotto, Chavit Singson and Annabelle Rama, just give us Sec. Robredo back, please? We'll even add Mitos Magsaysay to that trade-in, just keep Sec Robredo alive, safe and well, please Lord?
Others added Roberto Carabuena, the Volvo-driving Philip Morris human resource guy who has become an epitome of arrogance. Well, I would add to these names some political swine in Camarines Sur and my own provinces of Kalinga and Mt. Province. But such is life -- the cemetery for the bad guys is always less crowded than the cemetery for the good ones. And no amount of convoluted theodicy and pulpit platitudes can explain away the sheer randomness of life's circumstances.
We mourn with the people of Naga City (where my wife comes from), a place he truly loved. He is a great loss to the whole Filipino nation. It is in these desperate times that we hunger for models of personal integrity and genuine public service to inspire us to keep on keeping on. It is in these uncertain times that we need Robredos to assure us that one day our national economy will become stable and we can once again confidently march along the highway of progress.
But he is gone, and it is so sad to lose him this way at a young age. Sayang. What a waste!
And this loss is something that some of us will never understand. Take, for instance, this commenter:
Secretary Robredo had no political will whatsoever. He was impotent when Davado City Mayor Sarah Duterte boxed and slapped a Court Sheriff before hundreds of witnesses. The DILD [sic] did nothing except investigate. GOODBYE you GOOD for NOTHING Secretary. [Vicente Boticol, 08.19.2012]
This fellow clearly did not know who SILG Robredo was, and is ignorant of how cases involving LGU officals work or are resolved. How could someone who had made his slogans "Uswag Naga" and "An Maogmang Lugar" a reality not have political will? How could a Ramon Magsaysay awardee for good governance not have political will? How could an SILG who had instituted sweeping reforms in the problem-ridden DILG be impotent?
I was overjoyed when Robredo became SILG because I knew programs, projects and activities coming from the national level will be more realistic, more responsive to the clamor of those at the grassroots level. It meant no more inane programs like GMAC (Gabay sa Mamamayan Action Center) which was actually primarily instituted as a campaign project for you-know-who. My former colleagues in the DILG tell me the Department is a lot better under apo Robredo's leadership. Of course, I'd say to them, he is Jesse Robredo!
I lived and worked in Naga City for about two years and had the privilege of chatting with lots of Naguenos and observing closely how local politics worked out there. Except for his perennial critics with questionable integrity, virtually everyone I met beamed with pride at the mention of "Meyor Robredo." (For one, my wife would always jokingly said in admiration of the man, "Mayor Robredo is my boyfriend.") It is indisputable for them that Naga's progress is synonymous with Robredo's leadership.
Indeed then Mayor Robredo was so unlike many municipal and city mayors I have known since childhood. They were bossy, toted guns, had bodyguards, and were despicable. But Robredo, you'd see him in shorts walking around town smiling and chatting with anyone like he was just any ordinary Bicolano. He didn't need to be bossy because his leadership inspired others to follow him. He didn't need to brandish an armalite because he didn't lead his people by fear and coercion. He didn't need any bodyguard because he committed no crime against his own people.
Had he lived a little longer, he would have done more for the country. I would have wanted him to be President. But no, the Fates had already decided how long his life's thread should be.
He left his indelible footprints in our consciousness. We can only hope that people will continue to pass on his inspiring story and to show others his accomplishments. We can only wish that there will be more like him down the years to make us hope for better things to come.
Dakol na salamat sa ehemplo mo, Apo Jess! Mamumutan mi ika pirmi!
Our condolences to the Robredo family...