‘We were deprived the honor of confirming a great man’—Rep. GolezBy Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippnes—Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo came so close to finally getting his much-awaited confirmation from the Commission on Appointments when he died in a plane crash Saturday, and he may just get it posthumously.
Robredo was supposed to be confirmed on August 15, but this was postponed in deference to the necrological services for another Bicolano, Sorsogon Representative Salvador Escudero, who passed away from cancer, commission members Reps. Roilo Golez and Antonio Alvarez said on Tuesday.
Robredo’s confirmation was rescheduled for August 29, according to Alagad party-list Rep. Rodanto Marcoleta, another member of the commission. Marcoleta said he had expected the confirmation to pass without a hitch.
Both Marcoleta and Golez said they had talked to Robredo the week before and had assured him of the commission’s support.
“We were deprived the honor of confirming a great man, one of the best in the Cabinet,” Golez, the Parañaque congressman, said in a text message. “His place in the history of public service is secure.”
But it still took two years before the confirmation of Robredo, a multi-awarded and publicly extolled government official, could be scheduled.
Alvarez, when asked about the reason for the delay, declined to comment on the matter. Another commission member, Valenzuela Rep. Rex Gatchalian, said he did not know the reason and that he did not handle the committee involved with Robredo’s confirmation.
Marcoleta, for his part, said the delay could have been due to scheduling problems. While most officials awaiting confirmation, including Robredo, were facing “general” objections from groups they might have angered, he said these issues were usually minor and were not given much weight.
He also said he was open to the idea of a posthumous confirmation for Robredo, if that were allowed by the rules.
“If it’s still in order, to pay our last respects for his humility and diligence in his job, maybe we could do it,” he said in a phone interview.
Lawmakers also rushed to honor Robredo on Tuesday, proposing that he be given a hero’s burial.
Others extolled him as a shining example of who should be emulated by other public servants.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Robredo was a source of pride for his family and for those who had worked with him. He was also more than a good public servant; he was also a good man, Belmonte added.
“He was a good man. That fact is a great source of pride for you and for those of us in government who worked alongside him. Beyond his numerous accomplishments as a government official, it weighs more as it recognizes and respects his integrity, sincerity and dedication as a public servant as well as a family man,” he said.
He condoled with Robredo’s loved ones and also thanked the rescuers who had tirelessly worked to find Robredo and CaptainJessup Bahinting and Capt. Kshitiz Chan, the pilots of his ill-fated plane.
Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said the death of Robredo, “a brave, industrious, and kind man,” was a big loss for the Aquino administration. His replacement would have big shoes to fill, Gonzales added.
Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara and Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo said Robredo deserved a hero’s burial.
“Secretary Robredo, as a modern-day hero and public servant, should be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery),” Angara said in a statement.
He also said people should follow the example set by Robredo, a “daang matuwid (straight path) champion.”
“The best tribute we can give a great man is to continue the fight,” he said.