ABQ’s Moment with DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo…

Jessie Robredo’s Obituary from Rappler… RIP

When I interviewed USEC Benito Ramos of the NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) yesterday about the search for DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, I had a bad feeling about things but just couldn’t say it.

Well, my feelings were already bad since Saturday night when I first heard that Sect’y Jesse Robredo’s plane, a Piper Seneca had crashed. It was quite odd because I heard about the crash first on Twitter while waiting for updates on the Miss World 2012 competition and our candidate Queenierich Rehman. I’d be looking at my phone, alternately smiling for Queenie Rehman then sobering up for Jesse Robredo.

So, when I was interviewing USEC Benito Ramos on RPN Newswatch at 5:30pm yesterday (Monday, August 20), trying to get the latest on the search for Sec’y Robredo, I had this feeling that they had already found him but just didn’t want to announce it yet. I had heard that Presisdent PNoy was going to leave the search and rescue ops in Masbate to fly Naga to talk to the Robredo family and I thought – why do that unless there was big news to tell them?

If I’m right, I’m glad they let the family deal with it first before breaking the news to the nation. Media doesn’t always deserve to hear it first.

DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas announces the bad news.

Anyway, here’s a short remembrance of my one and only face-to-face moment with Secretary Jesse Robredo:

It was at RPN 9’s studio in Quezon City on the very same day that Venus Raj placed 3rd in Miss Universe. That was a crazy day very similar to when I heard about Robredo’s plane crash – I found myself alternately smiling over Venus Raj’s great performance and then sobering up over the hostage situation going on at the Quirino Grandstand. That was August 23, 2010. Sect’y Robredo was invited to talk about the ongoing hostage situation and I remember that some people were very critical of him for being at RPN 9 doing an interview and not helping out at the hostage site. But at the time, we didn’t know that the Quirino situation was going to end so horribly.

My impression of the Secretary? Well, he was understated and easy to talk to which made my job as an interviewer much easier. But most of all, what I saw in Jesse Robredo was a man who had a high regard for our President and a deep love for our nation. He struck me as the ‘protector’ type who would shield the people and things he cared for, even if he had to take a few bullets for them. Which is what happened after the Quirino Hostage situation which turned into a bloody mess.  Jesse Robredo was investigated by the Senate (rightly so) and admitted that he was out of the loop during the crisis.

I like men who know how to admit fault. These are the men you can’t put down. And my biggest regret now is not taking a photo with him at RPN 9 that day. I know that kinda sounds silly and just like the good Secretary, I admit it. 🙂

Erratum: I did have a photo taken with him thanks to my former boss and RPN9 Newswatch co-anchor Marigold Haber Dunca! Here it is:

Despite the Quirino debacle, Secretary Jesse Robredo continued to serve all the way to his death and now that he’s gone, we’re finally realizing what a major, major loss he is. All I’ve been seeing on Facebook and Twitter are good words about Secretary Jesse Robredo. Even news reports covering his life have more good to say than bad! And I’m hoping that these good words coming from all sorts of people will be a source of comfort for the Robredo Family and their closest friends.

RIP Secretary Jesse Robredo.