BY GIAN C. GERONIMO, GMA NEWS August 28, 2012
President Benigno Aquino III lauded the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo Tuesday for being successful in politics without being a traditional politician, or “trapo.”
“Trailblazer po si Jesse sa tuwid na daan. Pinatunayan niyang puwedeng magtagumpay sa politika nang hindi nagiging trapo,”
Aquino said in his eulogy, delivered after Robredo’s concelebrated Requiem Mass at the Basilica Minore de Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia in Naga City.Robredo served for 19 years as mayor of Naga, undefeated in elections. Yet he famously eschewed many of the notorious ways of longtime politicians, such as an extravagant lifestyle, election cheating, dynastic politics, and enrichment through jueteng.Instead, Aquino said, his late Interior Secretary brought technical competence and professionalism in his approach to governance, and a genuine closeness to ordinary people.
“Namuno si Jesse sa pagpapa-totoo ng mga teorya sa pamamahala na pinag-uusapan lang sa mga libro,”
Aquino said in his eulogy, which lasted about 15 minutes.
The President gave a partial list of Robredo’s successes as an official, and of his ingenuity in finding solutions to problems plaguing the government.
“Kayo na po ang mamili – sa Bureau of Fire Protection, kung saan nakakuha siya ng mga fire trucks na mas mura pero mas maganda ang kalidad at mas marami ang kakayahan; sa BJMP; sa PNP; pati na ang mga informal settlers. Maraming mga lumang problema na, sa tulong ni Jesse, sa wakas, ay nakikitaan na natin ng solusyon,” Aquino said.
“Sayang po talaga,” he rued.Some of Robredo’s admirers have taken to calling his governing style “tsinelas leadership,” after his penchant for wearing slippers on many an occasion.
A hero and family man
Aside from Robredo’s political successes, the President acknowledged how much of a family man the late Secretary was.
“Sagrado sa kanya ang oras kasama ang pamilya. Palagi siyang nagmamadaling makauwi sa Naga,” Aquino said.
Robredo was a hero, the President said, who is now in the ranks of other heroes.
“Nasa hanay na po si Jesse ng mga bayaning sumusubaybay sa atin mula sa kalangitan, at nagbibigay-lakas sa atin upang ipagpatuloy ang kanilang mga mabuting gawain. Kaya’t huwag na po tayong lumuha. Sa halip, magpasalamat tayo. Sa maikling panahong narito siya sa mundo, tayo pa ang nabiyayaan ng pagkakataong makapiling si Jesse Manalastas Robredo,”
Aquino added that amid the mourning, it would be better to think that the Filipino people were blessed to have Robredo, even for just a while.
“Mission accomplished na siya sa mundong ito,” Aquino said.
“Paalam Jesse, sa ngalan ng sambayanan, maraming maraming salamat,” he also said.
Posthumous Philippine Legion of Honor
The President gave his tribute to Robredo after conferring on him a posthumous Philippine Legion of Honor, with the rank of Chief Commander, presenting it to Robredo’s widow Leni.
The award, considered the highest the President can confer without the need for Congress’ approval, was given to Robredo for his achievements as Interior Secretary and as mayor of Naga City.
While expressing appreciation, Robredo’s widow Leni said her husband would not like the pageantry in his honor.
“If we could hear Jess speak, I know he would be saying ‘sobra-sobra na ito,’” Leni said after receiving the Philippine Legion of Honor award on behalf of her family.
However, she appealed to her husband to allow the people to honor him “in the way we think you deserved to be honored.”
“He was never attached to material things,” Leni said in her own eulogy delivered right before Aquino’s, recalling an instance when Robredo was gifted by politicians with several expensive shirts for his birthday.
She recalled her husband storing the shirts inside his closet, saying “magagalit na sa akin ang Diyos.” Robredo was a man careful not to spend beyond his family’s means, Leni added.
Leni said Robredo’s visits to Naga City kept him grounded, and that all he wanted for his children was to give them “the gift of a good name.”
“I will not say goodbye, because I know you will never leave us,” Leni said at the end of her speech. “We will love you forever.”
Following the awarding of the honor and the Mass, Robredo’s remains are scheduled to be cremated at the Funeraria Imperial, after his state funeral ceremonies.
Departure honors and a 19-gun salute at the Basilica were rendered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, while the national anthem was played.
The casket was loaded onto the hearse, after which the funeral cortege proceeded to the Funeraria Imperial, with a band and platoons from the AFP and the Philippine National Police accompanying the procession.
According to the Committee on Funeral Arrangements and Burial tasked to handle the Robredo’s interment, the state funeral will also include, upon reaching the crematorium, the AFP rendering a three-volley salute, followed by their playing of Taps.
The bulletin also noted that the Philippine flag will be taken off the casket and folded by the PNP and AFP casket bearers.
They will then hand over the flag to Aquino, who will present it to Robredo’s widow Leni, signaling the conclusion of Robredo’s state funeral.
Robredo died when the Piper Seneca en route to Naga City he was in with three others crashed off Masbate on Saturday, August 18. His body was found on Tuesday, August 21, three days later.
The pilot and co-pilot of the plane also perished in the incident, while only Robredo’s aide survived. – KG/RSJ, GMA News