Thursday, August 23, 2012

Family to bury Robredo in his 'happy place, home'


MANILA, Philippines - The family of the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo on Thursday declined the offer of MalacaƱan Palace to bury Robredo at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the resting place for Filipino heroes and martyrs.

At a news conference in Naga City, Leni Robredo, Robredo's widow, said the family is honored to be given the offer, but said her husband would prefer to be buried in his "home".

"We would be doing him a great disservice kung hindi siya dito nailibing. Naga has always been his happy place, his home," Leni said.

MalacaƱan has set a state funeral for Jesse, which would accord the late DILG chief a funeral honoring the country's presidents and those whose who had great contributions to the nation. Robredo's remains would be brought to the Palace on Friday and would return to Naga on Sunday.

Robredo had served as Naga's mayor for six terms since 1988. During his term, he was able to restore the city to become premier city in the Bicol region.

Leni said they are surprised by the outpouring of love, grief and support following the passing of Robredo.

She recalled that her husband sometimes doubted whether his efforts at the DILG were appreciated and were bearing fruit. Leni said her husband was used to "instant results", particularly when he was serving as Naga City mayor.

"Binibiro namin siya [kahit ngayon]. Sabi namin 'papa, grabe ka na.' Iyong pinapakita ng tao is beyond his imagination. He was always assured of the love of the people of Naga, what he was not prepared of was that hindi lang pala taga-Naga ang nagmamahal sa kanya," she said.

"Sa mga nakikita kong news articles sa diyaro, sa tributes about him, ang saya namin. He was hardworking, he was passionate sa kanyang trabaho. Minsan sinasabi niya 'may patutunguhan kaya iyong ginagawa ko?' Iba iyong national at local. Sa local, instant ang results, [kaya] naiinip siya, naiinip siya sa national level kasi hindi instant ang results. Sabi ko sa kanya ngayon, 'ayan, nasagot ka na'," Leni added.

She also said her husband would always come home to Naga every weekend to spend time with them and because he wanted to remain a simple guy with a simple life.

"He feels grounded here. Power has a way of getting into you. Whenever he comes home, he is a regular dad, a regular husband...[He told me] importante iyong 'hindi ako masanay. Mahirap masanay,' referring to the perks of his office. Mahirap masanay kasi baka daw hanap-hanapin niya. May nagtatanong sa kanya kung bakit siya umuuwi every weekend, sabi niya 'kapag hindi ako umuwi, masisira ang ulo ko'," Leni said.

Her husband had simple joys such as spending the weekend in his shorts, ordinary shirts and slippers and would bike unaccompanied every morning and afternoon around town.

Leni also said one way to honor the memory of her husband was for the next DILG secretary to continue his programs and the seeds of good governance that he planted among local government executives bear fruit.


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