Jesse Robredo: Heroic legacy celebrated

David Lozada
A photo exhibit on the 'heroic leadership' of the late Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo is launched at the 3rd floor of SM North EDSA

MODERN DAY HERO. An exhibit on the life of the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo show his heroic and ethical leadership. All photos by David Lozada.

MANILA, Philippines – Nine months after his death, the legacy of the late Jesse Robredo, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary, continues.

The Jesse Robredo Foundation, the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG), Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership and SM Foundation, on Thursday, May 23, inaugurated a 3-day photo exhibit in celebration of the upcoming birthday anniversary of Jesse Robredo on May 27.

“Jesse Robredo: Modern Day Filipino Hero” shows the different heroic facets in the life of the late interior secretary. The photos in the exhibit were taken from a mix of the Robredo family collections, contributions of close friends and file photos of different groups.

CHAMPION OF GOOD GOVERNANCE. The exhibit shows the different aspects of the life of the late secretary.

Kaya Natin! Director Harvey Keh said the exhibit aims to inspire people through the Robredo legacy.

“We hope that more young people and government leaders will be able to follow his example of being an effective and ethical leader,” Keh said.

Keh upheld that the exhibit also intends to show that it is possible to produce great leaders in the Philippines.

Hindi lahat ng politiko kurakot. We can have many Jesse Robredos if only we demand for it. If only we can demand it from our government leaders that they follow his…legacy of being an icon of good governance,” Keh added. (Not all politicians are corrupt.)

HOPE FOR THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT. Kaya Natin! Director Harvey Keh maintained that good and ethical leaders should be demanded by the people.

Robredo family

Congresswoman-elect Leni  Robredo attended the event along with her daughters. She noted that the event gave her assurance that people still think about and appreciate her late husband.

“More than that, I think this event should inspire not only public officials but even ordinary people who follow what my husband did,” Robredo said.

She admitted that she did not expect that her husband’s death would create such a big response. “Maybe it was big because he was just one of so many people na kailangang tularan,” Robredo added. (Maybe it was big because he was just one of so many people who should be emulated.)

OVERWHELMED. Newly-elected Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative Leni Robreo says she was overwhelmed by the response that the death of her husband triggered.

Keh maintained that Leni Robredo’s victory in the election shows that many Filipinos are wanting for positive change. (Watch: #PHVote with Leni Robredo)

“Despite the vote-buying that happened in their province, nanalo pa rin si Atty Leni Robredo. We’re very happy…and I’m sure she’ll continue the legacy of the late Jesse Robredo,” Keh added. (Despite the vote-buying that happened in their province, Atty Leni Robredo still won.)

‘New blood’ leaders

Sen Teofisto Guingona III, an active Kaya Natin! member, also attended the event. He said the exhibit shows that the principles the late Jesse Robredo believed in are still alive.

“The people who believed in him then, still believe in him now,” Guingona added. Furthermore, Guingona said he was glad about Leni Robredo’s victory as 2nd district representative of Camarines Sur.

On the results of the latest senatorial elections, Guingona said he is expecting a lot of vitality in the next Senate.

“We have new blood. We have young blood. We have eagerness. We have a strong sense of ‘let’s do this’,” Guingona added.

The Robredo legacy

MULTI-AWARDED STATESMAN. The late Jesse Robredo was one of the most celebrated and awarded local politicians of his time, aside from being a well-loved mayor of Naga.

Jesse Robredo was a multi-awarded politician and civil servant. He served as mayor of Naga City from 1988 to 1998 and 2001 to 2010.

He was a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Government Service. This is one among the 140 awards and citations in his name. (Read: Jesse Robredo’s journey back home)

He served as Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary under President Benigno Aquino III in 2010.

On Aug 18, 2012, Robredo’s plane crashed off the shores of Masbate Island. After 3 days of extensive search operations, his body was retrieved, along with that of his pilot. News of his untimely death shocked the whole nation.

Robredo was a founding member of Kaya Natin!, a non-partisan movement that seeks to promote good governance and ethical leadership, along with Grace Padaca, Ed Panlilio, Harvey Keh, and Sonia Lorenzo.

The exhibit runs from Friday, May 24 until Sunday, May 26 at the 3rd floor of SM North EDSA. – with a report from Raisa Serafica/

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