Jess Robredo…To Die A Hero

by Apolinario B Villalobos



At a young age –

Showed the world

He’s that strong;

Used to the fullest

What God gave him

As the stairs of knowledge

He took one rung at a time-

Carefully, not to miss the steps…


Strong leader as a student –

Many tried to emulate his ways

Some did try but failed

To be Jess is not that easy

His friends proudly said

Simple ways he had

But hard to be copied

A really rare breed, that lad…


His intellectual thirst was such

That even three educational degrees

Seemed not enough to accomplish;

Took a wife, equally strong

And like him is intelligent;

The two  built a home

With a foundation of love

And pillars of determination…


Alas! Not long afterwards

The couple thanked the Lord

For the three beautiful girls He gave;

Their joy was such that they did their best

To mold the three into the same ways

Into which they grew –

Respect for others, and love, too

Respect for time, and money, too…


At the helm of Naga City, at twenty –nine

Jess showed that when called to serve others

Age is just a number, and skill matters;

Unfazed by responsibilities, he did his best

By just being him –

As he checked busted city street lights every night

As he scraped mud from streets after the floods

As he helped garbage collectors fill their trucks

A he patted the back of those who sought his counsel

As he handed coins to the destitute he met

As he smiled his way through days of problems

As he wore the same office uniform just like others

As he took the bus to Manila and tricycle to functions

And many more Jess ways…

Hence, the Magsaysay Award at so young an age!


Though unfortunate to see high brows

This was when chosen by P-Noy to head DILG

Many, as usual tried to block his way

But just as when he was in Naga,

He was unfazed, and just worked his best;

No meetings and official ceremonies

Stopped Jess from skipping at least one meal –

One meal with his family, his precious family

Not even that distant meeting in Cebu one day

That was the fateful 18th of August 2012

When he took a Cessna flight for home

But as nearing Masbate, was distressed…


For three days, people cried and hoped

That he was just carried by waves to nearby islets

Or that a fisherman took him home to recuperate;

Alarmed but praying to the Lord

People patiently waited ….

Until, finally on the 21st of August 2012

Jess has been brought to shore…


A hero?…more than a hero I say!

Politicians who gave him a hard time

In getting the more than deserved confirmation

Are now cringing in guilt… suddenly silent

Alibis are said, but no amount of such

Could make a cover up for their misdeed;

They refused to see what Jess had been doing

For us, his countrymen who for long

The dirty air of politics we were breathing;

Politicians whose schedules are filled with investigations

That did not give much result, but limelight grabbing

They who played “intelligent”, “hero of the people”

Are so eerily silent……………………………

Yes… so silent………….!


To be a hero is to die with a purpose

It is only at death

That others accept what he did for others

It is a sacrifice for the man and his loved ones

But what can he do?

It is God’s will and plan –

The only way to make others  acknowledge him

The only way to open their eyes to see him

And open their mind to finally make them think

That, indeed, he is unselfish, hardworking, etc…


To die a hero  should not be seen as late in coming

God has a way as to when this should happen

His acts are done at the right time

And we, His creatures, His instruments

Can just wait, most often caught unprepared

But Jess was not –

For even as a child, his ways

Led to his being that –

A hero, and he died for it….

Though for others, hard to accept.

(The wife of the pilot of the Cessna plane said that she and her husband were planning to go to their resort for the weekend, but that night of Friday, they received a call for the Secretary Robredo who wanted to be flown to Naga, the following day, Saturday, and that her husband was specially requested to fly the plane. Her husband consented. The following day, his wife already discouraged him from chartering a flight as he would not be able to catch up with the awarding ceremony anyway. Their youngest daughter was to receive a medal for swimming. Just the same, Secretary Robredo went on with his plan, so right after his commitment, he rushed to the hangar of the Cessna operator. In his haste, too, the pilot failed to kiss his wife as he used to do before he would fly. While inflight, the Secretary was still able to call his wife to say that he was on his way which prompted his wife to proceed to Naga airport to meet him. Unfortunately, the pilot tried to make an emergency landing in Masbate, but failed……

Jesse Robredo was the Philippines’ Secretary of the Department of the  Interior and Local Government.)