01 September 2012

Jesse Robredo: The Silent Killer

“It used to be about trying to do something; now, it is about trying to be someone.” Thus, said Meryl Streep as she portrays the character of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 2011 film The Iron Lady.

If there is one Filipino government official who has, or for this instance, had debunked the aforesaid endearing movie line, it would definitely be the late secretary of Department of Interior and Local Government. Of course, I should admit that I would have never known Jesse Robredo’s accolades if, ironically, not for his tragic demise and the subsequent media exposure he received. I cannot even throw a fit on Julio Villafuerte, son of Camarines Sur Governor LRay Villafuerte, for questioning the hype and display of commemoration that tagged along Robredo’s death. Such remark did not mean any malice. It was an honest opinion, a profound inquiry, which in fact, mirrored the greatest accomplishment of Robredo as a public servant and as a Filipino.

The former secretary never dwelt under the spotlights to be seen by the greater majority. He was a man whose simple yet well-lived life seems to have ridiculed the fame whores. He was a government official whose feats have put to shame some of his publicity-hungry counterparts. It should be noted that most public officials have become obsessed with attention. We have local executives and representative who have assumed the role of attention-seeking deities as evident from the imprints of their names and photo-manipulated images seen in public places. We have top officials whose frequent media exposures tend to bring forth the same entertainment provided by the showbiz industry.

Traditional politics has always been a popularity game. The sheer narcissism of politicians has become too off-putting that some, if not all, have developed a heavy distaste toward the field of politics. But politics should never leave a bad taste in people’s mouth. Its role as one of the premier social institutions is central to the survival of humanity, civilization, and modernity. Thus, whether we like it or note, politics is here to stay.

In the midst of the frenzied Philippine political landscape however, along came Jesse Manalastas Robredo. For him, it was not about trying to be someone; instead, it is about trying to do something. He was a silent killer.