Aquino pays tribute to Robredo, calls him `true and good leader’By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines–On the eve of Jesse Robredo’s interment, President Aquino on Monday honored the late Interior Secretary on National Heroes’ Day, calling him a “true and a good leader’’ who “heroically’’ chose service over transactional politics.
Mr. Aquino will lead the state funeral, including full military honors, and deliver a eulogy for Robredo after the funeral Mass Tuesday morning at the Basilica Minore de Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia in Naga City.
“Tomorrow (Tuesday) we’re bringing a true and a good leader, Secretary Jesse Robredo, to his final resting place. He heroically chose a simple lifestyle and focused on the welfare of others before himself, and put his principles above transactionalism,’’ Mr. Aquino said in a speech at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
It was the President’s first official statement about the 54-year-Robredo since he perished in a plane crash in Masbate on Aug. 18.
Mr. Aquino personally oversaw the search and rescue operations for Robredo in Masbate, and then accompanied the transport of his body from Masbate to his hometown in Naga City after this was recovered from the fuselage of the plane on Aug. 21.
He welcomed Robredo’s remains Friday morning for a two-day lying in state at Malacañang’s Kalayaan Hall and sent these off Sunday morning, with full military honors.
The President is flying Tuesday morning to Naga for the funeral, officials said.
After the President’s eulogy, Robredo’s flag-draped casket will be brought out by pallbearers with full departure honors, including a 19-gun salute, and loaded into a caisson, according to the committee for funeral arrangements and burial.
From there, the funeral cortege will proceed to the Funeraria Imperial, where the military will give a three-volley salute and play the taps. Afterward, the national flag will be taken off the casket, folded and presented by the President to Leni Robredo. This concludes the state funeral, it said.
The remains are then brought inside Funeraria Imperial for cremation, it added.
“The entire state funeral with its honors, tradition and protocol, is a manifestation of the acknowledgment by the President and his official family of the virtues exhibited by Jesse in governance — honesty, simplicity, integrity, among others,’’ Secretary Edwin Lacierda said in a text message. “And for his service to the people, a grateful nation is forever indebted to him.’’
All the Cabinet officials are attending the funeral, according to Lacierda.
“As in the arrival and departure honors as well as the memorial service, the Cabinet members will attend to bid our last farewell to our dear colleague, Jesse Robredo,’’ he said.
In their remarks at the Libingan, where more than 47,000 of the country’s heroes are buried, Maria Serena Diokno of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and Taguig Mayor Laarni Lopez-Cayetano also paid homage to Robredo.
“Establishing a kingdom on the right path is not only a dream. More important, it’s our duty as a people who love our country. This is a sign of our heroes then. It is the one and only sign of a Filipino hero through all time. We’re fortunate that at present we have a paragon in the person of Secretary Jesse Robredo,’’ Sereno said.
Cayetano, for her part, said Robredo set the standard for the rest of public officials.
“While the country mourns the passing of Secretary Robredo, it brings new standards for me and all the officials. His public service is an act of heroism,’’ she said.
In his speech, Mr. Aquino said every day poses a challenge to every Filipino to be a hero.
“In times of difficulties, the call to each one of us is: rouse the hero inside us and respond to the call of duty. Lowly or powerful, famous or not, you can contribute and do everything that you can for the sake of the country and your fellow men,’’ he said.
“Every good example will give birth to many heroes. One will become many, so that we’ll achieve our dreams. In our blood runs the spirit of heroism. That’s why the people we look up to are called heroes: they kept the fervor burning that united our people and served as a bridge to achieving our goal,’’ he added.
Mr. Aquino honored the heroes, including those buried at the Libingan, but said the heroism was not only measured by one’s skills in battle, facing bullets in the battlefield, and shedding blood for the country.
“This can also be exemplified by setting aside one’s interest and doing good without expecting recognition. We’ve witnessed this kind of heroism in many of our countrymen – policemen, soldiers, government employees, even ordinary Filipinos — when Gener and the southwest monsoon spawned massive flooding in parts of Luzon. Thousands responded to rescue and give aid to the flood victims. They’re nameless, aiding even strangers, and putting their lives on the line,’’ he said.