Posted by: Atty. Oliver Bulang | August 17, 2013

My Tribute to Sec. Jesse M. Robredo


One year since he joined his Creator, I’m compelled to make my humble tribute to a fellow traveler. Here it is: 


He was born of a rich family in a once parochial frontier of Naga City. Blessed with the good things in life, he understands the plight of the deprived.  He was one with them.

He had seen the dark specter of martial law. Felt, but never fear it, he saw the plight of the downtrodden. It was an eye-opener.

He had always been academically superior. He valued no less than extraordinary achievements. His teachers portended him to make a mark soon—a prophesy. And he did just that.

He had deep love for the oppressed, the principle of people empowerment and Bicol. He was a “man for the others.” He could have been another Ramon Magsaysay in the making.

He entered politics at a young age when his peers were busy chasing dreams, riches…and perhaps, women. He felt for the moribund state of Naga and was determined to shake it with institutional reforms. He did not just succeed. He surpassed what was expected of him because he preferred to tread the less-travelled road.

He was a social reformer, and none of a politician. He was no fan of “ka-epalan” stuffs because for him public service is not a way to riches; it is a way of life. Thus, he preferred to stroll downtown Naga in shorts, casual shirts…and slippers. He was a “man for the masses.”

He metamorphosed Naga from a heavily-indebted city into a bustling premier city, earning it a title as one of Asia’s Most Improved Cities. For that, he raked in quite a number of local and international recognition for his dedication and passion for public service. He had accomplished politically in such a short period time because he was always in a hurry—hurry for fundamental reforms….and hurry to get home.

His stellar career as the crusader for Naga’s progress earned him the post as the DILG Secretary under Pnoy’s administration. Since then, public governance in local government units has changed.  He was a beacon of hope.

Despite his sterling record, he was refused entry into the elite political circle of Imperial Manila just because he regrettably hailed from the province. His confirmation as the DILG Chief never caught him up during his lifetime. But he never resented it. Not because he had already resigned to the thought that he will never be confirmed. But because, confirmed or not, he will still be at the helm of political and institutional reforms in the local government units. And that’s just about it.

His competence and expertise in addressing controversial developmental issues earned him the ire of some shady sectors. He saw the difficulty of tackling reforms. But there was no let-up. Not until he died. The man went too soon. He could have petitioned the heavens for extension. But no, great men always die young. 

His great works resonated throughout; his virtues transcended. And people—friends or foes—flocked to his wake like ants eager for crumbs of food. The display of hypocrisy unsurpassed, some politicians secretly wanting him out of the picture, tried to cry, albeit, with duplicity. They looked like clowns.

All he wanted was to be a simple public servant doing honest job, less of his political trappings. He did not live for power; he lived for the common good. Hence, the powers-that-be found no heart for him. He was not bothered any less. Anyhow, he did not serve the powerful few. He was serving the hopeless.

His untimely demise was also the death of genuine public service. But his great works followed him even to his grave. He died a hero, receiving a dead president’s wake. He died a martyr, receiving a hero’s burial.

He is…”simply, Jesse.”





  1. Gud am po!! Atty. May katanungan po sana
    ako sa inyo.
    May nagsanla po sakin nang bukirin at gumawa din po
    kami nang kasulatan na every harvest 10 sack of rice ang
    ibibigay nila sakin. Pero mula po noong nakuha nila yung
    pera at nakaharvest na sila nang maraming beses ni isang
    sako wala po sila binigay? Mag 4 na taon na po nakasanla
    yung bukirin nila sakin?? At ang bukirin na sinanlaan ko ay nagkakahalagang 40 tou pesos. At isa pa po nalaman nmin na nakasanla pa pala sa ibang tao ang bukirin isinangla sakin at nalaman ko lng dahil ang taong pinagsanlaan nila nong una ay kamag anak din nmin at di rin nla nakukuha yung kasunduan nila sa lupa.. Bale pangalawa ako sa nagsanla dun sa bukirin nila.

    Anu po ba ang pwede kong gawin or ikaso sa taong nagsanla
    sakin nang bukirin.???

    Please kindly email

    Maraming salamat po!!

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