'Jesse was a regular husband and father'
MANILA, Philippines – The late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo was a regular husband and father who wanted to come home to his family every weekend, his widow, Atty. Leni Robredo, said Thursday.
In a brief press conference in Naga City, Atty. Leni said that at home, Robredo was not “a secretary or a mayor.”
“He wanted to feel important sa amin,” Atty. Leni said. “Kapag umuuwi siya every weekend, lahat ng aayusin sa bahay, hinihintay ko siya.”
“Busted lights, plumbing, mga sirang telepono, hinihintay siya nun,” she added.
Robredo’s remains were found off the coast of Masbate Tuesday morning. His plane, a small Piper Seneca, crashed into the sea Saturday afternoon.
Both pilots, Captain Jessup Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand, perished in the crash. Robredo's aide, Jun Abrazado, was the lone survivor.
The late secretary was on his way home to Naga City for the long weekend when the accident happened.
Atty. Leni said Robredo wanted to come home every weekend because “he feels grounded here.”
“Power has a way of getting to you. Sinasabi niya na everytime he comes home, he wants to feel like a regular dad and a regular husband,” she said. “Kaya kahit kaya kong gawin, hinihintay siya nun.”
Atty. Leni related that just a week ago, Robredo had the lights in their house and their doorbell fixed. She would also call him whenever there was a brownout or when they would lose their internet connection at home.
“Sasabihin, why it might have been unnecessary na siya pa ang ginugulo namin sa mga bagay na as trivial as that?,” Atty. Leni said. “It made him feel important na may ginagawa siya para sa pamilya.”
“Kapag nagt-thank you ako sa kanya, sasabihin niya sa akin, ‘Least I can do, Ma.’ Palagi niya yung sinasabi,” she added.
Conscious about perks
Atty. Leni said her late husband did not want to get too used to the perks of being a high-ranking government official.
“Importante yun kasi he was very, very conscious na hindi masanay. Parati niya sinasabi na, mahirap kung masanay. He was referring to the perks na nararamdaman sa office,” she said. “Sinasabi niya na mahirap masanay, baka kasi hanap-hanapin.”
Atty. Leni revealed that they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary last June 27.
“It was very typical Jesse. Our 25th anniversary was on a weekday, and I was in Manila the weekend before and we celebrated with the entire family,” she related.
“The day of our anniversary was a regular day, nag-work ako, nag-school ang anak namin. IN the afternoon, he arrived. Hindi ko alam na darating siya. Meron siyang bundle of flowers, hindi nga bouquet,” she added.
“Yun pala, yung flowers hiningi niya sa nadaanan niya, and he lumped them into a bundle at ‘yun ang gift niya sa akin.”
The late secretary and Atty Leni have three daughters: Aika, Patricia, and Jillian.
Aika and Patricia share Robredo’s passion for service, Atty. Leni said, but it is unlikely they will enter politics.
“Si Aika and Tricia ay active in community service in Ateneo, marami silang advocacies,” she said. “But not towards politics, more on service. We are not closing doors, but very slim yung possibility nag may mag-politics.”
Atty. Leni believes her husband was “ready to face the Lord” and that his fate was God’s will.
“Alam namin na ito ang ginusto ng Diyos. Wala tayong magagawa kung hindi tanggapin. Si Jess, all through his life, always said kung ano ang nakatakda yun ang mangyayari,” she said. “When the accident happened, maluwag ang loob kong tanggapin na yung nakatakda sa kanya.”
Robredo will be buried on Tuesday in Naga City.