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New law declares August 18 Jesse Robredo Day

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III recently signed a law declaring August 18 of every year the Jesse Robredo Day, in honor of the internationally-recognized former mayor of Naga City who died while serving as Aquino's local government secretary.

Republic Act 10669 was signed on Tuesday, August 18, Robredo's 3rd death anniversary.

August 18 of every year will be a "special working holiday," which "all elementary and secondary schools in the country" should celebrate through activities that will emphasize Robredo's "legacy of good governance and leadership."

This is "to encourage students to continue the same for the good of the Philippines and the Filipino people," the law says.

In the event that the date falls on a weekend, the holiday will be celebrated on the Friday before it.

On August 18, 2012, the Piper Seneca plane carrying Robredo, then the secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), plunged into the waters off Masbate. His body was found underwater days later.

On the 3rd anniversary of Robredo's death, President Aquino and DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas II went to Naga City to honor him, at a time when the ruling party was wooing his widow, Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo, to be Roxas' running mate in 2016.

The two officials were widely criticized online, however, by citizens who remembered that Aquino didn't give Robredo full authority over the DILG because he preferred his shooting buddy, Undersecretary Rico Puno, to have supervision over the peace and order attached agencies.

While Robredo's body had yet to be retrieved, Puno entered without permission the DILG's chief condominium unit supposedly to secure sensitive documents. It prompted the widow to request the justice department to secure the place and the documents.

Robredo died without being confirmed as DILG chief. Rappler.com