[PHOTO - DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo: Determined to hang on. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, AUGUST 21, 2012 (INQUIRER) By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr. - Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo was intent on staying in office for the full term of President Aquino despite nagging demands for his resignation, said Harvey Keh, lead convenor of Kaya Natin Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership.

“He planned to finish P-Noy’s term, after which he might have run for a higher position or returned to the private sector. He did not feel any pressure from the crises faced by his department. He always enjoys challenges,” said Keh in a text message on Sunday

Kaya Natin, which Robredo founded, appealed to the public to continue praying for the safe rescue of Robredo. They called him the “epitome of effective, ethical and empowering leadership in our government.”

Former Isabela Governor Grace Padaca said Robredo was “too busy to think of his own plans for 2016.”

“I remember, during his first few months as Cabinet secretary, when I asked Mrs. Leni Robredo how he (Robredo) was, she said he just wanted to go home to Naga: ‘Sa Naga na lang ako.’ After a while, seeing him in the news and talking with him once in a while, I was glad to know he was getting the hang of it and was fast showing and spreading to local governments the programs and initiatives that are ‘tatak Robredo’ – ethical, effective, empowering,” said Padaca.

Robredo was coming home to give daughter a treat By Juan Escandor Jr. Inquirer Southern Luzon


NAGA CITY—Busy as ever in his job, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo wanted to be home here on Saturday to give a treat to his youngest daughter, Jillian, who had won a bronze medal in an international mathematics contest recently held in Singapore.

Although he was booked on a commercial flight back to Manila at 4 p.m. after a series of activities in Cebu City, Robredo decided to return to Naga earlier by taking a chartered flight.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer learned about Robredo’s haste to come home Sunday from one of his closest friends. His wife, Maria Leonor or “Leni,” a lawyer, confirmed the story.

Leni said her husband had called her up about the plan. She referred the Inquirer to Julian Lavadia Jr., a childhood friend of Jesse’s, for the details.

Lavadia said Leni had told her husband in an earlier phone conversation not to bother coming here because Jillian would have already been given local recognition for her achievement before he could reach Naga.

“If the awarding had been done, he would give her daughter a blowout,” Robredo was quoted as telling his wife.

It was just like him to have wanted to do that, Lavadia said. In spite of his demanding job, Robredo always found time to attend to his children’s personal needs. The Robredos have three daughters—Aika, 23, Patricia, 18, and Jillian, 13.

Lavadia said Robredo would tutor his children in school assignments whenever he had time.

Robredo would always try to come home and spend the weekends with his family.

William del Rosario, who had been Robredo’s friend since they were high school students at Ateneo de Naga in the 1970s, said he spoke to Robredo on Friday.

Del Rosario was undergoing treatment for a spine ailment and Robredo had recommended a doctor, who operated on him on Tuesday.

“I told him I am nervous about the operation, and he told me, ‘Padi, everything will be all right,’” Del Rosario said.

Del Rosario said Robredo’s friends were working together to attend to visitors coming to the Robredo home. They offered not only moral support but also brought food and entertained the visitors.

Lavadia said waiting for news about Robredo was agonizing.

“I want him alive,” he said. “I am pretending that he is alive. If the worst of what can be expected becomes the latest news, that will be the saddest thing.”

Lavadia said he talked to Robredo on August 12 in Manila about the slogan they would use in the sports development council that Robredo used to head and that he, Lavadia, now headed.

He said he learned about the plane crash while he was at a moviehouse from Robredo’s executive assistant, lawyer Nina Rances. He said he immediately left the place with his wife, Naga Councilor Babet Lavadia, and went straight to the house of Robredo at 5:30 p.m. and stayed there all night.

He said friends, allies and journalists stayed overnight. On Sunday, people came and went, all anxiously waiting for news about the search and rescue operation in Masbate.

Robredo’s pillow dropped at crash site By Jonas Soltes Inquirer Southern Luzon 10:49 am | Sunday, August 19th, 2012

MASBATE CITY, Philippines – A pillow used by Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo was dropped at the site where his plane went down in the hope that it will help in finding him.

This was in accordance to folk belief that if a pillow used by the missing person is dropped in a place where he disappeared, he will resurface, said Naga City Councilor Elizabeth Labadia.

Labadia, who was with the group from Robredo’s hometown that flew to Masbate City this Sunday morning, brought along the pillow with her.

But it was Robredo’s aide, Paul Cabug, who dropped the pillow at the crash site at around 10 a.m.

Labadia said the pillow was given to her by Robredo’s wife, Maria Leonor or “Leni,” who opted to stay in their family home in Naga City with their three young daughters and other family members and close friends to wait for news about her missing husband.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved