A holy mass was celebrated on August 27 at the Chapel of the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres (SSPC) in Dili, Timor-Leste to honor and thank the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo for his faithful and loyal service to the Filipino nation.
The mass was attended by members of the Filipino community in Dili, which also included officials of the 2012 Philippine National Police (PNP) Contingent to the United Nations Police (UNPOL) in Timor-Leste led by Contingent Commander Julio T. Gustilo, Jr.
The mass was officiated by Filipino priests, Rev. Fr. Roy Ragas, SJ and Rev. Fr. Alan Bondoc, SVD, the latter being the incumbent President of the Association of Filipinos in East Timor (AFET).
In his homily, Fr. Ragas shared his thoughts on why the late Secretary Robredo is a paragon of good governance.
Speaking on behalf of the Philippine UNPOL contingent, Deputy Contingent Commander Roderick Augustus B. Alba extolled the late Secretary for his exemplary virtues as a public official.
In his remarks, Chargé d’ Affaires, a.i. Maurice A. Tiempo urged Filipinos in Timor-Leste to elect leaders who will carry on Secretary Robredo’s brand of accountable and transparent governance so that the latter’s efforts in strengthening Philippine democracy will not be in vain. This, of course, can only be done, he said, if Filipinos would exercise their right to vote. He then appealed to the members of the Filipino community in Dili to register for the forthcoming 2013 national elections.
Meanwhile, the Embassy opened a book of condolence for the Filipino community, the diplomatic corps, and Timor-Leste government officials from August 28 to 29.
Representing the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), UN Police Commissioner Luis Miguel M. Carrilho was the first to sign the condolence book.
In his message, he expressed UNMIT’s deepest sympathy and condolence to the Filipino people for the loss of “a fine man who fought for justice and served his country and people to the end.”
The heads of the diplomatic missions of Brazil, China, Cuba, Japan, Malaysia, and Thailand likewise signed the Embassy’s book of condolence and joined the Filipino nation in mourning the demise of Secretary Robredo.
Similarly, Mr. Aniceto Guterres Lopes, a member of the National Parliament, verbally conveyed his sympathies for the late Secretary. Mr. Lopes is a fellow recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award albeit in a different category (Emergent Leadership). A human rights lawyer, he was cited by the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation in 2003 for “his courageous stand for justice and the rule of law during East Timor’s turbulent passage to nationhood.
In mourning over the passing of Secretary Robredo, Filipinos in Timor-Leste had chosen a more personal approach by offering prayers for the revered government official.
In solidarity with the Filipino people and in observance also of Proclamation No. 460 issued by President Benigno S. Aquino III, the Embassy lowered the Philippine flag at the Chancery to half-mast from August 21 to 29.