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Jesse Manalastas Robredo PLH QSC (May 27, 1958 – August 18, 2012) was a Filipino statesman who served as Secretary of the Interior and Local Government in the administration of President Benigno Aquino III from 2010 until his death in 2012.[1] Robredo was a member of the Liberal Party.

Jesse Robredo
DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo.jpg
Secretary of the Interior and Local Government
In office
July 9, 2010 – August 18, 2012
PresidentBenigno Aquino III
Preceded byBenigno Aquino III (Acting)
Succeeded byPaquito Ochoa (Acting)
Mayor of Naga
In office
June 30, 2001 – June 30, 2010
DeputyEsteban Abonal
Gabriel Bordado
Preceded bySulpicio Roco
Succeeded byJohn Bongat
In office
February 2, 1988 – June 30, 1998
DeputyLourdes Asence
Preceded byCarlos Del Castillo
Succeeded bySulpicio Roco
Personal details
Jesse Manalastas Robredo

(1958-05-27)May 27, 1958
Naga, Philippines
DiedAugust 18, 2012(2012-08-18) (aged 54)
near Masbate City, Philippines
Political partyLiberal Party
Leni Gerona (m. 1987)
EducationDe La Salle University (BS)
Harvard University (MPA)
University of the Philippines, Diliman (MBA)

Beginning in 1988, Robredo served six terms as Mayor of Naga City in Camarines Sur.[2] In recognition of his achievements as Naga City mayor, Robredo was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 2000, the first Filipino mayor so honored. He was appointed to the Cabinet of President Aquino in July 2010.[1]

Robredo died on August 18, 2012, when the light aircraft he was travelling in crashed off the shore of Masbate Island, after suffering an engine failure.[3][4][5][6] [7][8][9]


Early lifeEdit

Jesse Manalastas Robredo was born on May 27, 1958 in Naga City to José Chan Robredo Sr. (1923 – 2015), a Filipino Chinese and his native Filipina wife of ethnic Bicolano descent, Marcelina Manalastas-Robredo (1928 – 2013). Robredo is of Chinese descent through his paternal grandfather, who immigrated to the Philippines from Fujian province at the beginning of the 20th century,[10] and has a Hokkien Chinese name, Lim Pieng Ti.[11] He was the third of five siblings: he had a brother, José "Butch" Robredo Jr., a businessman; and three sisters: Jocelyn Robredo-Austria, who lives in the USA; Jenny Robredo-Tang; and Josephine (Penny) Robredo-Bundoc of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH).

Jesse obtained his undergraduate degrees in industrial management engineering and mechanical engineering at De La Salle University. He was later accepted as an Edward Mason Fellow and graduated with a Masters of Public Administration degree from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1999. In 1985, Robredo finished his Masters in Business Administration at the University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City, as a scholar and was named the Graduate School and Faculty Organization awardee for scholarly excellence.[12] The Far Eastern University bestowed Robredo with a doctorate in Humanities, honoris causa, during its 80th commencement exercise held at the plenary hall of the Philippine International Convention Center on April 4, 2008, recognizing his efforts to develop Naga City.

He studied at Naga Parochial School, a private Catholic school where he began to hone his talent and love for chess. The school was known and had established a record for winning Bicol's annual province-wide chess tournament and Robredo's brother had been among its champions. However, when it was Robredo's turn to represent his school, he only garnered second place.

Robredo entered high school at the Ateneo de Naga University in 1970 and was in junior year when President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in September 1972. The university administration immediately called an assembly and warned its students against getting involved in anti-government activities – which could result in the school being closed down.

In 1980, Robredo worked for the San Miguel Corporation in Mandaluyong City, in the Physical Distribution Technical Services of the General Services Division, and within six months, Robredo had hurdled two of the three levels in the division and was then sent to the finance division for another six months.

When Robredo's immediate superior transferred to Magnolia Ice Cream, San Miguel Corporation's ice cream division, he was invited to come along. He was assigned to logistics planning and concurrently functioned as staff assistant to the physical distribution director.[13]


A plaque awarded by Robredo in 2011 as Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government

In 1986, Robredo returned to Naga City, where he became Program Director of the Bicol River Basin Development Program, an agency tasked to undertake integrated area development planning in the three provinces of the Bicol region. It is while working at the BRBDP he met fellow Nagueño Leni Gerona, whom he would marry the following year.[14][15]

In 1988, Robredo was elected mayor of Naga City at age 29,[13] the youngest mayor in Philippine history. His three terms as mayor ended on June 30, 1998.[16] He was again elected as City Mayor in 2001 and finished his second three terms on June 30, 2010.[16] He served for a total of nineteen (19) years as Naga City Mayor before being appointed on July 9, 2010 as Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). Robredo was able to transform Naga City from being dull and lethargic to being one of the "Most Improved Cities in Asia," as cited by Asiaweek Magazine in 1999.[12]

During his time in city hall, Robredo was credited for "dramatically improved stakeholdership and people participation in governance, in the process restoring Naga to its preeminent position as the premier city of Bicol Region."[12] In 1995, in recognition of his skills and competence as a leader and development manager, Robredo was elected President of the League of Cities of the Philippines, the national association of city mayors. Robredo also chairs the Metro Naga Development Council."[12] He served as chairman of the Regional Development Council, the regional planning and coordinating body of Bicol's six provinces and seven cities, from 1992 to 1998.[12]

During his time as the Secretary of DILG, he pioneered on-site relocation and slum upgrading in all cities in Metro Manila. The idea was quite new in Metro Manila and faced with tremendous resistances from the city halls, mayors, or even within DILG. There were incidents of Robredo facing off with Junjun Binay, Mayor of Makati City in a demolition in Guadalupe, Makati. Binay told Robredo, "I know what my city needs, you don't."[17] A Regional Director of DILG also filed a complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman against Robredo, which was later dismissed.

Benigno Aquino III was Secretary of Interior and Local Government,[18] until Aquino named Robredo to succeed him.[1] At least two politicians from Bicol, Luis Ortega and Luis Villafuerte Sr. expressed opposition to Robredo's confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of which Villafuerte himself was a member.[19] In March 2012, the Commission on Appointments bypassed Robredo's nomination.[20] His nomination was bypassed again in June 2012.[21] Another confirmation hearing had reportedly been set on August 29, 2012, eleven days after Robredo's sudden death.[22]


Robredo on a 2013 stamp of the Philippines

Robredo was killed in an air accident on August 18, 2012, when the Piper Seneca light aircraft he was travelling in crashed off the coast of Masbate Island. He was flying to Naga City to assist to his daughter's swimming competition. The plane suffered an engine failure en route from Cebu City, and was attempting an emergency landing at Masbate Airport.[3] Robredo's aide, Police Chief Inspector June Paolo Abrazado, was also on board but survived.

Robredo's body was found on August 21, 800 meters (2,600 feet) from the shore and 54 metres (177 feet) below sea level.[23]

At the time of his death, Robredo was survived by his wife, future Vice President Maria Leonor Gerona Robredo, and three daughters in addition to his elderly parents (including an only mother-in-law) as well as his siblings.

His funeral was held at the Archbishop's Palace in Naga City before it was transferred to Malacañang Palace for an official wake on August 24, 2012. His remains were later brought back to his hometown of Naga and cremated.

Robredo's ashes are entombed at the Eternal Gardens Memorial Park.

Philippine President Aquino conferred the Philippine Legion of Honor with the rank of Chief Commander upon Robredo on August 28, 2012 just before the state funeral.[24]


Following Robredo's death, August 18 was declared "Jesse Robredo Day".[25] In addition, two roads were named in his honor, Sec. Jesse Robredo Avenue in Naga City, Camarines Sur and Jesse M. Robredo Boulevard, in Masbate City. Naga City also hosts the Jesse M. Robredo Center, the Jesse Robredo Coliseum, and the Jesse Robredo Monument and Museum in the town centre. His alma mater, De La Salle University Manila, also holds the Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance.


National Honors



  1. ^ a b c "Jesse Robredo named DILG chief". Manila, Philippines: ABS-CBN Interactive. July 10, 2010. Archived from the original on July 13, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  2. ^ "City Officials: 1945–2004". City Government of Naga. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Robredo's plane crashes off Masbate". ABS-CBN News. August 18, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  4. ^ "Robredo's ill-fated plane: Chronology of events". Inquirer News. Manila. August 19, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  5. ^ "Rescuers search for Robredo, 2 pilot". Phil Star. Manila. AP. August 19, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  6. ^ "Officials still hanging on hope for DILG chief". Sun Star. Manila. August 20, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  7. ^ "Philippines interior secretary missing in plane crash". CNN. August 18, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  8. ^ "Small plane carrying DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo crashes off Masbate". GMA News. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  9. ^ "Robredo's body found". Office of the President (Philippines) Newsroom. Archived from the original on August 25, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  10. ^ "Robredo, Jesse Manalastas BIOGRAPHY". Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation. Retrieved May 14, 2016.
  11. ^ Wilson Lee Flores. "Jesse Robredo and his siblings read newspapers and books to their blind dad". The Philippine Star. Retrieved May 14, 2016.
  12. ^ a b c d e "Jesse Manalastas – Robredo Naga City Government Website". City Government of Naga. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  13. ^ a b "Philippine top minister feared dead in crash". Al Jazeera. August 19, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  14. ^ "Jesse Robredo feared dead after plane crash". Coolbuster. August 18, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  15. ^ Alcober, Neil A. and Depasupil, William B. (August 21, 2012) Robredo family hopeful but prepares for worst. Manila Times
  16. ^ a b "Tribute to DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo". Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  17. ^ "Mayor Binay, Robredo clash at Guadalupe demolition site". GMA News Online. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  18. ^ Ager, Maila (June 29, 2010). "Aquino names Cabinet, takes DILG helm". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on June 30, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
  19. ^ "Local Politicians to Give Robredo Tough Time at CA". May 31, 2011. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  20. ^ "5 Cabinet members, envoy to China bypassed by CA". March 22, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  21. ^ "CA bypasses De Lima, 4 other Cabinet members for nth time". June 6, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  22. ^ "Malacañang advised to get official plane for Noy, Cabinet". August 20, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  23. ^ Robredo found dead. ABS-CBN News (August 21, 2012), Retrieved on August 21, 2012
  24. ^ "Bulletin No. 11 from the Committee on Funeral Arrangements and Burial of the late Secretary Jesse M. Robredo". Official Gazette, Government of the Philippines. August 27, 2012.
  25. ^ Hegina, Aries Joseph (August 21, 2015). "Palace declares new holiday: August 18 is Jesse Robredo Day". Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  26. ^ "Speech of President Aquino during the conferment of the Quezon Service Cross on Jesse Robredo, November 26, 2012". Official Gazette. Office of the President of the Philippines. Retrieved June 2, 2013.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Benigno Aquino III
Secretary of the Interior and Local Government
Succeeded by
Paquito Ochoa