Remains of Secretary Robredo being loaded on the airplane in Naga City earlier this morning (from President Aquino’s Facebook page)
THE REMAINS OF Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo arrived in Manila later this morning from Naga, as Filipinos still struggle to come to grips with his early passing.
The popular but very low-key Interior Secretary was killed in an airplane crash off Masbate province last August 18 while on his way to his family in Naga City. His remains were only recovered earlier this week.
Robredo’s remains will lie in state at the Malacanang Kalayaan Hall, an American-era building right beside the Presidential Palace. His remains will be available for public viewing this weekend, before being flown back to his hometown of Naga City on Sunday. Robredo will be buried in his hometown on Tuesday.
Early this morning, President Benigno S. Aquino III personally took charge of preparations at the Malacanang Kalayaan Hall for Robredo’s arrival. Arrival honors will be held at Malacanang Palace following a motorcade from Villamor airbase. (Photo from Malacanang Photo Bureau)
The outpouring of grief and support for Robredo has continued almost a week since his death, providing a solid counterpoint to Robredo’s reputation as an advocate of transparency, people’s participation, and good governance. Robredo had served as Naga City Mayor for almost two decades before being tapped as DILG Secretary. As Naga City Mayor, Robredo was credited for transforming the city from a third to a first class city. His leadership also ushered in an era of transparency and good governance that won him plaudits and the Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service.
Flag at half-mast in front of Kalayaan Hall (Photo by Malacanang Photo Bureau)
But for Susan “Toots” Ople, Robredo was more than just a famous or celebrated local government official. Ople and Robredo were 1998 batchmates at the Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Since then, the two had kept in touch, both as personal friends, and as peers in the service of the public. In a blog she posted on her website, Ople remembers the man who was, in truth, actually larger than his public image, and better than his reputation.
Read Susan Ople’s blog here.