OF Jesse Robredo, it can be said that he was a leader who was inspired by his ideals and thereby inspired others, but the outstanding thing about the man was how much he was liked, how much he was loved. As a townmate stated so eloquently, "Mahal siya ng lahat ng Naga" (he was loved by all of us in Naga). Fitting words for a headstone.
In an era where the masses yearn for larger-than-life heroes, Jesse Robredo didn't look the type, not at first glance. Quite simply, he was a public servant who did the job he was paid to do, without fanfare, and he did it well and quietly, accomplishing much. The department that he headed has to be one of the most contentious - try dealing with cops and political kingpins! - yet in the all too brief time that he was secretary of the interior and local government, outsiders actually saw and felt change, while insiders realized how one boss made a difference in their work and their concept of public service. Under him, they realized good government was not an impossible dream. Was it a gut reaction then, that DILG employees immediately appealed to the President for a successor who would be "just like Sec Jesse"?
Where in the world to find such a one? DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas and Sen. Franklin Drilon will have a hard time doubling up as Liberal Party headhunters. Woe to the nominee who'd be so conscious of stepping into Jesse's sandals!
News of divers finding the bodies of Mr. Robredo and his two pilots must have been so upsetting that one TV anchor announced "state dinner" instead of state funeral, while another was grimly determined to ferret out information from her reporter, on the extent of the lone survivor's accountability for not doing more to save the life of his principal, as she put it.