By Raymund F. Antonio
Sporting his rubber slippers, his favorite footwear, Jesse Robredo would always go around Naga City as its mayor back then on a bicycle, recalled his widow Vice President Leni Robredo.
That image defined him even until his final days as secretary of the Interior and Local Government before the plane accident that ended his life in 2012.
Last Saturday, Vice President Leni paid tribute to that charming memory of her late husband by riding his mountain bike for a 24-kilometer ride with other cyclists, dubbed “Freedom Cycle: Pedal Like Jesse.”
The event was staged in commemoration of his 5th death anniversary.
“Ito ay ginagawa to commemorate the death anniversary of Jesse, pero isinusulong pa din natin iyong mga paniniwalang pinaniwalaan niya noong siya ay nabubuhay pa. Kabahagi na nito iyong freedom (We’re doing this to commemorate the death anniversary of Jesse, but this also advocates his ideals when he was still alive. And that includes freedom),” she said.
Last Saturday’s Freedom Cycle started at about 6 a.m. on Naga City Hall grounds and was led by the Vice President, who donned a white and pink shirt with other local officials and bikers.
Joining Robredo was Foundation Freedom country director Wolfgang Friedrich Naumann, Senator Kiko Pangilinan, Mayor John Bongat and Vice Mayor Nelson Legacion.
Jessie, who was mayor of Naga City for nearly two decades, was a model of local governance and a Ramon Magsaysay awardee in public service.
He died in a plane crash off Masbate on Aug. 18, 2012. His body was found after three days of grueling search operations.
“I think the story of my husband is one story that gives hope – hope that we can have excellent public servants who have honest private lives,” she said in Filipino.
Tags: Foundation Freedom country, Freedom Cycle, Mayor John Bongat, Senator Kiko Pangilinan, Vice Mayor Nelson Legacion, VP Leni honors Jesse with 24-km bike ride around Naga, Wolfgang Friedrich Naumann