By Danny o. Calleja
NAGA CITY (22-Aug-2013/PNA) – “Paalam Jess. Maraming salamat!,” was the highly punctuated line among every Bicolanos familiar with the works and deeds of former Interior and Local Government secretary Jesse M. Robredo who also served the city as mayor for 18 years.
The people of Naga loved Robredo because of the very deep concern he had accorded them and for his being a truly simple man; approachable and ready to attend to their needs.
All around the city, billboards and streamers bearing the same line are displayed conspicuously, “We are grateful to Jesse and we are sending him off with good wishes.”
“Jesse is the best for us and we don’t see for now anybody who could match his accomplishments and quality as a public servant. But since he is already gone, all we can say now is “Goodbye Jesse and thank you very much!,” a 62-year old market vendor, Maxima Tuazon, said.
At the height of the morning mass offered for the repose of Secretary Robredo this morning, the old lady isolated herself from the crowd in a corner of the Palace hall as she silently weeped over the death of Robredo whom she called her and her family’s idol.
“I do not want other people to see me crying over Jesse’s death because crying is an expression of weakness. All of us here wanted to be strong in accepting his tragic death,” she said.
Local broadcaster Pax Rengalota, on the other hand said, “there is nothing more we can do now but to be strong in accepting that we lost another highly respected Bicolano leader who is looked upon as an epitome of good governance and inspiration for the entire Filipino nation as he takes the ‘tuwid na daan’ route being pursued by Pres. Aquino.”
“We bid him goodbye and express our sincerest thanks to him for the greatness he had shown to us and to the entire country,” he said.
Former Legaspi city mayor now city administrator Noel Rosal, for his part, said the city government looked up to Robredo as an inspiration of local governments towards good governance, dedication to public service and graft-free administration.
“Jesse is an icon of good local governance, that will stay forever with us. The Seal of Good Housekeeping and other citations he (Robredo) was accorded in recognition of its outstanding performances towards proper administration are lasting souvenirs that we will treasure forever” Rosal said adding, “Goodbye Jesse and thank you very much.”
Cabinet secretaries attended the early morning mass held at the Palace Wednesday, the first day of the wake, officiated by Caceres Archbishop Leonardo Legazpi.
Among those present were Liberal Party stalwart Sen. Franklin Drilon, a partymate of Robredo, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang.
Robredo’s remains were retrieved Tuesday morning from the plane wreckage over a hundred meter deep down the sea off the coast of Masbate City following an intensed two-day search and rescue operations that Pres. Benigno Aquino III personally supervised.
The President also escorted the body of his DILG secretary’s when brought home from Masbate at noontime Tuesday. It now lies in a wake at the posh Archbishop Palace at the heart of this city. (PNA)