Amidst Underwater Currents

Leadership should serve by example…
Public servants are meant to serve,
not to be served.”
– Jesse M. Robredo, DILG Secretary

Jesse M. Robredo

(In Memoriam: Jesse M. Robredo, 1958-2012)

He was a good man. A good Secretary he was.
We lost him.

The crippled plane plunged into the deep wavy sea.
Amidst the underwater currents in that murky abyss,
he left a clear, enduring legacy supreme in his time.

He walked a straight path.

A champion of the masses, he was loved by
his people, valued by colleagues and friends
and reviled by political foes who loathed his solid
doctrines of good governance, honesty and integrity.

He walked his talk.

He was our youngest city mayor, serving for 19 long years
with untainted tenure as public servant. He was simple, kind
and dedicated; approachable but candid and straightforward.
He breathed fresh air, blowing away traditional politics in his turf;
and diligently bailed his city from sickbed to seedbed of growth.

He walked with national and local officials.

He worked to empower local governments, to make them competitive.
The streamlining and financial reforms he instituted cascaded from
national to local levels, carving his mark on a bureaucracy jaded
by patronage politics. He awarded exemplary government units with
the most-coveted ‘Seal of Excellence in Good Housekeeping’ (a reward
still unprecedented in the country); claiming no credits for himself.

He walked humbly despite laurels.

His academic achievements are laudable. And yet, he tempered
theory with practice and reached the pinnacle while keeping both
his feet firmly on ground. He reaped accolades and numerous awards.
He reached the corridors of power, walked with the President. But still,
no laurels and added feathers on his cap could ever really spoil him.
A very ideal father to his family, he always found time for them…

He walked and lived with principles.

His philosophy, values and ethics are beyond reproach.
He would have made more difference; done much more.
He would have lifted the constituency to higher levels,
leveraging on his undying dedication to serve our people.

He walked the distance.

He trekked the straight road which erring public officials shun.
May others in his suit follow his footprints and live his example.
May his passing reiterate the ideals of public service in these
most critical, difficult times when we find ourselves challenged,
amidst the underwater currents of a nation groping for deliverance.

He walked with us …

… and doing his job, he flew to his death.

Dios mabalos, Jesse!

© 2012 Chito L. Aguilar


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. 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.

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. 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. His body was retrieved three days later, August 21, at 800 meters from the shore and 180 feet below sea level.



8 thoughts on “Amidst Underwater Currents

  1. The President, in his capacity as head of state and commander-in-chief, has the prerogative of ordering a state funeral for any citizen who is deemed of sufficient stature to deserve such an honor.

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