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The Simplicity of Jesse

(Article published in the Sep 19,2012 issue of Manila Standard Today)    

As my public expression of solidarity with the nation’s grief upon the passing of one who made a difference in the lives of the many, I yield my space today to a Nagueña who writes from the heart about a Nagueño (with minimal editing):

"I’m Elvira Boncodin born and a native of Tabuco Naga City, I've traditionally known Mayor Robredo as a public servant who’s way of leadership is by example. Pogi, as called by many, is seen anywhere often at the corners of Naga City wearing tattered jeans and faded loose shorts. He is very simplistic yet undeniably strong in dealing with people.

For all these attributes, he has been my idol since I was a kid. He stayed being our mayor for six terms. His unquestionable leadership aptitude has made Naga rise from a third class to a first class city. Until the time that I graduated and raised my own family.  I was really delighted that he became part of my wedding day. “Hindi ko kayo makakalimutan kasi kayo ang kauna-unahang ikinasal ko dito sa tabi ng swimming pool ng civic center,” he claimed.

Even though we transferred to Manila already, I still continued hearing positive feedback about Mayor Robredo. And though he got appointed as the Secretary of the DILG, He continued to be a well-loved public servant in the hearts of the Bicol region. I knew that he would always have the heart to serve the public as best he can. That is why I did not have any second thoughts to seek for his help when my mother got hospitalized and needed an operation. Upon receiving my text message, he called me right away and avowed that he will help. Though my mother did not survive the operation, Sec. Jesse travelled all the way to Naga to fix the funeral arrangements. At my mother’s wake, he said “Madi, mairilingan na lang kita sa langit nainut ka lang”.   I will never forget that day, when the Secretary of DILG, came to our house to give us comfort as we mourned our mother’s passing.


I admit that I am not a person who prays a lot, but after hearing the news about the plane crash which was carrying Sec. Jesse, I immediately prayed to God for his safe return. But just like everyone else, I was deeply saddened by his passing. His untimely demise took the nation to a state of bereavement and reflection.

The nation lost a great man and leader. Bicolanos lost a father. Robredo’s enormous accomplishments and his truthfulness in serving the people should be an example not only to Naguenos but to the whole country. Sec. Jesse Robredo will always be remembered by the Filipino people and the rest of the world. His untimely death will give us an opportunity to reflect and to have a better vision for our country.  Elvira Juan"

In silence and by the wayside, I make way and watch the living bury their dead who had awaken their life.