behind every great man is a great woman

September 1, 2012 at 8:14 am 6 comments

a few days after his death, the loving widow of jesse robredo held a press conference. mr. robredo was a high ranking cabinet member of philippine president benigno aquino iii. he died in a plane crash off the shore of masbate island on aug. 18 while on his way home to naga city to be with his family.

it’s been said that behind every great man is a great woman. from this interview, i had a glimpse of the woman that he married and it was good. a woman of high intelligence and moral values, maria leonor “leni” robredo must have helped him keep his feet on the ground, maintain his focus, and walk the line. if you watch the above video, i know you’ll agree with me. for non-tagalog readers, a transcript of the interview in english can be found here.

mrs. robredo is a lawyer by profession. she is currently involved with saligan, a non-governmental legal resource organization operating in the philippines. according to its website, it seeks to effect societal change by working towards the empowerment of women, the basic sectors, and local communities through the creative use of the law and legal resources.

mrs. robredo’s mother in an interview remembered that, as a young woman, her daughter had many suitors. she chose jesse from among them all because she saw something special in him, which proved to be prophetic. he was a good husband and father to their children in spite of being busy and dedicated to his career in government.

jesse robredo – wikipedia photo

jesse robredo was secretary of the interior and local government. previous to this, he served as mayor of naga city for six terms. he was also the first filipino mayor to receive asia’s version of the nobel prize, the ramon magsaysay award, for government service in 2000.

as secretary of the interior and local government, mr. robredo was responsible for the administration of the local government units and shared supervision of the national police with interior undersecretary rico puno. it was a position of power that can easily corrupt a man of less character. the fact that he didn’t succumb to the temptation and remain a champion of good governance until his death made him a hero to the nation that mourned his passing. it was a genuine outpouring of grief that the trapos (traditional politicians) who underestimated his fitness for the job were bemused. he was definitely out of their league.

he was accorded the state funeral led by president aquino when he was buried on aug 28 in his hometown of naga city. during his burial, the president awarded him the philippine legion of honor for his achievement in public service. his remains was earlier lain in state in malacañang for a two-day public viewing.

according to mrs. robredo, his late husband would find all these accolades uncomfortable. a simple and unassuming man, he would never think that he deserved them. on hindsight, he might have been partially correct. some of them might have been politically-motivated or given just to assuage the consciences of those who had done him wrong in life.

jesse robredo was the epitome of what will rogers, the famous american humorist who died in a small plane crash like him, once said, “it’s great to be great, but it’s greater to be human.”

ma’am leni robredo, we salute you, for making it all possible. be strong for the sake of your children. we deeply sympathize for your loss which is also our loss.

Entry filed under: Blogroll, commentary, filipino, philippines. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Angie Reyes  |  September 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    My sentiments exactly!

    • 2. plaridel  |  September 3, 2012 at 6:53 pm


      it’s too bad he died before he achieved his full potential.

  • 3. AC  |  September 2, 2012 at 5:18 am

    i admire his humility and simplicity.. as well as his wife’s. as i type this comment i am watching korina sanchez’ rated k feature about robredo, i didnt realize that his family is that simple they live in a small, simple apartment in naga. i have a flatmate who lived in naga and she has nothing but praises to this noble yet humble man.

    • 4. plaridel  |  September 3, 2012 at 6:53 pm


      mar roxas has big shoes to fill after taking over as replacement for secretary robredo’s job. corections: tsinelas pala. i think he’s a better choice than vice president binay.

  • 5. Nortehanon  |  September 3, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Last week, I saw Jesse Robredo’s wife and kids caught by media men’s camera. They were about to board a bus to Manila. We often think families of politicians are afforded with nice cars and don’t mingle with ordinary people. But Robredo’s family have been used to public transpo, without bodyguards.

    Kaya sobrang humanga ako talaga.

    • 6. plaridel  |  September 3, 2012 at 6:54 pm


      mrs. robledo and the children have been in the national limelight following his death. hopefully, they can withstand all these media attention. she’s even being urged to run for the senate in 2013. it would be wise to follow her last husband’s advice that it’s not necessary to go into politics if the main goal is to serve the people.


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