Bacolod mayor recalls Robredo’s dread of small planesBy Carla P. Gomez
BACOLOD CITY—Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo declined an invitation to attend the inauguration of Mayor Evelio Leonardia of this city in 2010 because he did not want to ride in a small plane.
Leonardia recalled that Robredo was scheduled to attend his inauguration as mayor in 2010.
“On a personal note, I find it ironic that when I had my inauguration in 2010 (as mayor of Bacolod), the airport in Manila had a problem and I tried arranging for (Ilocos Sur) Gov. Chavit Singson to pick him (Robredo) up from Naga to bring him to Bacolod,” Leonardia told the Inquirer.
“Singson was willing but Robredo politely declined, telling me he is not comfortable with small planes,” the mayor added.
According to Leonardia, Robredo told him he disliked riding small planes and that his wife would not allow him to ride these, Leonardia said.
“Perhaps it was the call of duty as a father that made him take the risk,” said Leonardia.
Robredo rode in a four-seater Piper Seneca plane, instead of taking a commercial plane from Cebu to his home in Naga City, because he wanted to return home quickly to make it to the awarding ceremony for his youngest daughter who won in a math contest, Naga City Mayor John Bongat said.
Leonardia told the Inquirer that he felt saddened by news of Robredo’s plane going down, saying Robredo was the first national president of the League of Cities of the Philippines.
“Robredo, with his brilliance and his amicable ways, has shown us that he is a nontraditional politician,” said Leonardia.
Leonardia said he was not surprised when Robredo was appointed interior secretary because of his excellent record as Naga City mayor and national president of the League of Cities of the Philippines.
Robredo, married to lawyer Leni Robredo, was father to three daughters.
Former Negros Occidental Gov. Rafael Coscolluela, a friend of Robredo’s, also had only praises for Robredo.
“True to form and consistent with our highest expectations, Secretary Jess championed local governance reform with vision and firm resolve,” said Coscolluela.