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JR: Just, Righteous

"Live your life in such a good way that people will regret losing you." These are my favorite words of wisdom from my Lolo. He was a respected public servant, a responsible father, and a loving and caring grandfather. When he died in 2001, thousands of people mourned with us. The whole town was in grief, everyone regretted his loss. And until now, I guess I have never moved on from that painful event. I will never forget such a great man - a hero, a friend, a father. He was, and will always be my inspiration, my model of leadership, my example of faith, discipline, and perseverance. 

Benjamin Guisper Martinete: My greatest hero.

Today, as we commemorate the death of Ninoy Aquino, we also grieve for the death of DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo. His body was found in the waters of Masbate, 800 meters from the shore at a depth of about 180 ft. He and two other pilots (whose bodies are still being retrieved) were victims of a plane crash. I don't know much about Sec. Jesse until I read testimonials about him and his life.

Sen. Chiz Escudero: "The passing of Sec. Robredo is a tremendous loss for the nation. He was a stalwart & a pillar of our collective quest for change. He embodied everything a Filipino leader should be. He is a principled man whose honesty and integrity were beyond question."

OPAPP: "Naging malaking bahagi si Sec Robredo sa patuloy naming pagsulong ng kapayapaan. Mananatili sya sa aming puso."

Sec. Coloma: "Binigyan niya ng sigla at inspirasyon lahat ng kanyang nakadaupang-palad dahil sa kanyang katapatan sa tungkulin."

Sen. Sonny Angara: "The Daang Matuwid lost one of its champions today. Best tribute we can give a great man is to continue the fight."

Reading all these beautiful statements in honor of Sec. Jesse, I was convinced that he must have been a good man. Two words to describe him must be just, and righteous. And I believe that's exactly the reason why the whole nation prayed for him and people regret his loss.

He was quoted saying these beautiful and inspiring words: "Public servants are servant leaders. Their mission is to serve and not to be served."

I believe he was that - a servant leader. And servant leaders, like Jesus Christ, like my Lolo, like Sec. Jesse Robredo, will always be remembered. They may be gone but their legacies live on.

Thank you and may you rest in peace, Sec. Jesse. May all our public officials learn from your life and leadership. I know you will continue to look after the Philippines. Yes, there is still hope. Change is still possible.

Sec. Jesse Robredo: Father, Servant Leader, Hero.

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