Prayer: Robredo’s and Nagueños’ weapon against ‘Naga Leaks’
Vice President Leni Robredo is returning to Naga City on Thursday to join in a prayer rally after a controversy recently surfaced alleging the late Jesse Robredo allowed illegal gambling and drugs to proliferate in the city.
At 6:30 p.m., Robredo and her supporters there will gather at Plaza Rizal for the prayer rally dubbed “Uphold Truth in Naga City, Our Maogmang Lugar (Our Lively City).”
Before the rally, Robredo will lead the turnover of “Angat Buhay” project, the Office of the Vice President’s anti-poverty program, to the municipality of Tinambac in her hometown in Camarines Sur.
In one of the events she attended on Wednesday, Robredo recalled how Jesse immersed himself with the ordinary people of Naga City. He was the city’s mayor for nearly two decades.
“Jesse would go around the city, in his bicycle, with no bodyguards, wearing shorts, shirt, and slippers. He cleaned the streets and canals and regularly joined our garbage trucks. He was always accessible,” she said in a message she delivered at the Ateneo Professional Schools in Rockwell Center, Makati City.
There, Robredo was awarded this year’s Metrobank Foundation Professorial Chair for Public Service.
She continued in her speech: “All his constituents knew his cell phone number and no one hesitated to call him up for anything, even in the middle of the night. He was mayor for almost 20 years and never enriched himself. Until the day he died and up until now, we live in an apartment in Naga and eventually in a small condominium unit owned by my husband’s family here in Manila.”
“Until the day he died, we owned just one car – a trusty, old Toyota Innova. All these were not part of any branding or PR exercise. Everything he did was done spontaneously and happened naturally,” Robredo added.
This was an apparent response to the “Naga Leaks” exposé by a group of anonymous critics who called themselves “We Are Collective.”
In a three-part series, the group, quoting anonymous sources, alleged that Jesse used dummies to hide his wealth, adding that he actually owned the entire residential building in Quezon City where the Vice President had been renting a condominium unit.
Robredo then mentioned anew the achievements of Naga’s local government during the leadership of her husband.
“Naga City’s record speaks for itself. Asiaweek, Asiaweek listed Naga as one of the world’s best cities in 1999, one of 150 local, international, one of only 150 local, and regional awards the city has received so far,” she said.
Last year, Robredo said Naga was also awarded for the second consecutive year with Most Competitive Component City in the country while she recalled that Jesse had won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, also known as Asia’s Nobel Prize, in 2000.
Social media critics are claiming that Jesse won the award only because of his public relations officer Gabby Bordado’s lobbying efforts.
This was later debunked by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF), saying Jesse was highly deserving of the award and that the accusations against him had no solid basis. IDL/rga