Filipinos buried a hero/state funeral
From: John A. Gilbuena
August 28, 2012
Manila – Filipinos buried Tuesday their country’s most celebrated 54-year old home affairs secretary, Jesse Robredo, a plane crash victim noted for being an extraordinarily loved and respected leader known for simplicity, honesty, and his being champion of the poor in a well attended heroic state funeral held in his beloved home place in the southeastern Philippines Bicol peninsula.
In full attendance during the funeral Mass at Naga City’s Catholic Basilica Minore de Peñafrancia were Philippines’s Cabinet members and Robredo’s close friend , President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, who sadly admitted losing a “true friend and a brother,” as he conferred after the eulogy a posthumous Philippine Legion of Honor ( life achievement award for public service) to his late Interior and Local Government secretary’s widow lawyer Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo.
The pomp and magnified attention and publicities ignited by a state funeral seemed too much for a highly simple man who championed the cause of the poor, so that Robredo’s widow commented: “If we could hear Jess speak, he would surely say this is too much already,” as she accepted the award in behalf of her deceased husband.
The August funeral and the yellow tide atmosphere filled with yellow ribbons tied everywhere, including trees climbed by hawking spectators and supporters, and throngs of mourners in yellow shirts and flags with prints of Robredo’s face apparently were reminiscent respectively in 1983 and 2010 of the past heroic funerals of the late secretary’s idol couple, martyred ex-Senator Ninoy Aquino and his wife ex-Presdent, both late parents of President Aquino.
Robredo’s phenomenal popularity after untimely tragic death from a plane crash in the sea off Masbate August 18 even enticed the communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels occasionally active in Bicol peninsula to express in a formal statement to cease from launching offensive guerrilla operations in a move to express respect for the funeral of the late secretary.
After the mass, 19-cannon fire salute rang out with simultaneous same gun salute at southern Metro Manila’s National Heroes Cemetery and three-minute sirens by Coast Guard ships and commercial vessels throughout the country, as pallbearers prepared for funeral goose march to a crematorium some 750 meters, as they carried Robredo’s coffin which his family will donate as the late secretary used to wish during his light moments with his wife even before his untimely death.
Crowds chanted: “Pogi Pogi,” (handsome, handsome ) Robredo’s popular local monicker known to ordinary folks in Naga City where the late charismatic leader served as mayor for 19 years before President Aquino tapped him as his trusted and reliable home affairs secretary, even if his formal legal appointments, renewed thrice, were repeatedly by-passed by opponents-dominated legislature-based confirmation body.
Aquino described Robredo, whose inspiring life he lived with utmost frugality, sincerity, honesty, and humility, as “trail blazer” out to inspire Filipinos to tow the line of his much avowed political battlecry “tuwid na daan” (straight way) characterized by transparency and zero graft and corruption.
Just like tragic untimely deaths of popular charismatic figures worldwide Robredo’s is not without cast of suspicion and intrigues, as Aquino’s leadership, filled with his trusted advisers well known in proactive showcase of morality and graft and corruption free governance, is gearing for synchronized local and national elections in May 2013 still short of three more years before his presidential term ends.
At the height of Robredo’s funeral eulogy, technical divers who resumed deep scouring of the sea off Masbate finally found the missing right engine of the ill-fated Piper Seneca plane.
Investigators still have to determine whether the said plane, whose pilots were among the fatalities, was probably sabotaged, as suspected by other camps alleging that the late secretary of home affairs had incurred the ires of opponents critical of pending cases out to be filed against them by the late ideal family man, religious faithful and folk hero endeared to his people for his extraordinary simplicity , honesty, thriftiness, down- to-earth “slipper leadership, riding passenger bus/jeep/pedicab, and preference of cheap clothes and personal things over signature or high-end brands.