Jesse Robredo, most accessible Cabinet memberBy Ramon Tulfo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
To all those praying for the safe recovery of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, please include the two pilots, Capts. Jessup Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand, a Nepal national.
Bahinting, owner of Aviatours, the company that owns the ill-fated plane charted by Robredo, needs special mention.
Three days before the crash, Bahinting saved the life of Cebu City zookeeper Ronald Aventurado, who was bitten by a king cobra.
The city didn’t have an antidote against snake bite, but neighboring Camiguin, an island province, had it.
Without the antidote, it was going to be a slow but certain death for Aventurado and minutes were ticking by.
On his own initiative, Bahinting ordered one of his pilots to fly to Camiguin to get the antidote.
He could have said, “Saving the life of a zookeeper is not my job, it’s the job of the city government, Aventurado’s employee.”
But that didn’t even cross Bahinting’s mind. Without hesitating, he ordered one of his planes to fly to Camiguin.
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There were two heroes aboard that ill-fated plane: Secretary Robredo and Captain Bahinting.
So let’s all pray for a miracle: the safe recovery of Robredo, Bahinting and Chand.
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Reports keep mentioning that Robredo is a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay award, Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
They fail to mention that Robredo is also a Dangal ng Bayan awardee.
Dangal ng Bayan is the highest award the government gives to government officials or employees for exemplary public service.
The other “Dangal” awardees that I know of are retired police Director Marcelo Ele Jr. and police Senior Superintedent Wally Sombero, who retired at age 44.
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Among all the Cabinet members, Robredo is the most accessible.
He always returns calls and is always available for interviews with the media.
He immediately acts on complaints from the public.
Two weeks ago, I called Robredo in behalf of a 3-year-old boy who was run over by a car owned by a town councilor in Rizal province.
The child’s parents had approached “Isumbong mo kay Tulfo,” my public service program over radio station dwIZ.
The councilor refused to pay for the child’s hospital and medical expenses.
Robredo apparently called the councilor because the town official promptly paid the medical bills, the boy’s parents told me two days later.
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Before Robredo became chief of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), he was mayor of Naga City.
When he was mayor of the city, it was free of “jueteng,” an illegal numbers game.
During his term as mayor bars, nightclubs and prostitution joints were not allowed to operate in the city, prompting ribbings from some of his friends that he was a “killjoy.”
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Not only does justice grind exceedingly slow in this country, it also favors the powerful over the poor.
A case in point is Police Officer 3 Aurelio Landingin of the Malolos, Bulacan, police station, who is charged with poking his gun at a 6-year-old boy three years ago.
Landingin continues to be in the service because his cases in the courts and at the National Police Commission continue to drag on.
Worse, Landingin has been charged only with unjust vexation, a minor offense, instead of grave threats and child abuse.
Landingin has allegedly been threatening the boy’s parents, who are market vendors, because the cases against him had not been withdrawn.
More from this Column:
- How easily voters forget
- Dead man biggest winner
- My fearless forecasts
- Jojo Binay’s juvenile tantrum
- Our twisted system of justice