SalamatJesse: Robredo to get posthumous Legion of Honor

Kim Arveen Patria
Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom
President Benigno S. Aquino III will be conferring the Philippine Legion of Honor with the rank of Chief Commander on Secretary Jesse M. Robredo (posthumous) tomorrow, August 28, the same day as the State Funeral for the late Secretary. The medal was made by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the official manufacturer of State awards.

Aside from honoring Interior and Local Secretary Jesse Robredo with a state funeral Tuesday, President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III is also conferring on him posthumously the Philippine Legion of Honor.

"The Philippine Legion of Honor is considered the highest award the President can bestow without the need for approval of Congress," the Palace's funeral committee said in its 11th bulletin Monday.

Robredo will be given the Legion's highest rank of chief commander "for life achievement as Secretary of the Interior and as Mayor of Naga City," the Palace added.

A brief posted on the government Website meanwhile noted that the rank of chief commander "has always been conferred on heads of state or governments, and distinguished individuals in recognition of their importance to the Republic or for life achievement."

It was first conferred on former U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt posthumously. Former President Emilio Aguinaldo was the first Filipino to be given the Legion's rank of chief commander while the last was former AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Oban when he retired last December.

Other recepients of the rank include former Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee, former Senator Lorenzo Tanada, and newspaper publisher Chino Roces.

The conferment ceremony will follow a 10 a.m. concelebrated requiem mass in Naga City's Basilica Minore de Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia.

The President will present the Legion's insignia to Robredo's wife Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo after Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad reads the citation.

Mrs. Robredo is expected to deliver a response, after which the President will give his eulogy.

It will be Aquino's first speech on Robredo's death since the Cabinet official's body was found in the fuselage of a plane which crashed off the coast of Masbate Aug. 18.

The President has mentioned Robredo in his National Heroes' Day speech, however, saying: "Bayani siyang pinili ang simpleng pamumuhay; tinutukan ang kapakanan ng kapwa bago ang sarili, at nangibabaw ang kanyang prinsipyo laban sa transaksyonalismo (He was a hero who chose a simple life, who placed the welfare of others before himself and whose principle transcended transactionalism)."

After Aquino's eulogy, Robredo's remains will be brought out of the Basilica by casket bearers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP).

The AFP will then render departure honors and a 19-gun salute, after which the funeral procession to Funeraria Imperial for the cremation will begin.

Marching ahead of Robredo's hearse will be a band and platoons from the PNP, Army, Navy and Air Force.

The hearse will meanwhile be accompanied by eight honorary pallbearers, identified in the funeral committee's 12th bulettin as Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, Public Works Justice Secretary Rogelio "Babes" Singson, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman, Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles, Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino, and Mindanao Development Authority Chairman Luwalhati Antonino.

Robredo's wife and three daughter Ma. Jessica , Janine Patricia and Jillian Therese, will follow the hearse, accompanied by the President. Following them will be other members of the Robredo family, as well as officials of the Cabinet and other government agencies.

The PNP will render a three-volley salute at the crematorium. The flag draped over Robredo's casket will then be folded and presented by Aquino to Mrs. Robredo, formally ending the state funeral.

Aug. 28 will also be the last day of national mourning for Robredo, wherein flags in all government offices in the country have been flown on half-mast.

The Palace funeral committee has noted that the crematorium is not open to the public. It added, however, that Robredo's crypt at Naga City's Eternal Gardens will be open for public viewing.