CHICAGO (jGLi) – From “Siopao” to “Icon of Good Governance.”
A pre-school and high school classmate of the man who would become Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo has now described the late cabinet official as a poster boy for government officials, who would like to make a difference.
This was one of the eulogies of Carlos A. Cortes, Jr., one of the Filipinos, who trooped to the Philippine Consulate General’s office Friday (Aug. 24) to sign the condolence book made available by Deputy Consul General Orontes V. Castro, who was minding the Consulate in the absence of Consul General Leo M. Herrera-Lim, who was visiting other Midwestern states.
Mr. Cortes, a Philippine FLAG lawyer and former Philippine Department of Justice official, said his classmates in elementary and high schools in Naga City, would surely miss Mr. Robredo because he had kept himself grounded by being in touch with them even if he was playing the part of one of the more challenging and busier departments in the Philippine bureaucracy.
Mr. Cortes, who immigrated to the U.S. several years ago to join his wife, Gigi, who is a Registered Nurse, and their family, said that from kindergarten and up to high school, he observed up close how their classmates endearingly called “Siopao” because of his rounded face and his Chinese eyes, rose from the ranks.
Cortes, who was nicknamed “Kapal” by a close circle of friends, was nominated by then Mayor Robredo to become Naga City’s Chief Prosecutor. But Cortes did not get the stamp of approval of the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo because Cortes did not belong to the Arroyo Administration party.
Now active in Chicago as member of the U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG) and Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) and Bikol U.S.A. of the Midwest, Cortes said the keeper of the list of nicknames of their classmates and friends is Robredo’s first cousin, Alex Bichara, who is nicknamed “Viet Cong.”
Bichara now owns a chain of movie houses in the Naga City and environs.
APO MIDWEST MEMBERS LED IN CONDOLING TO ROBREDO FAMILY
Former Solicitor General Joel Cadiz, who was former Integrated Bar of the Philippines president, is part of the small circle and is called “Choco” for having a sweet tooth for chocolate. Mr. Cadiz is planning to run for the 3rd Congressional district in Camarines Sur being vacated by the incumbent Rep. Luis Villafuerte, who is now being termed out.
To show that the late Secretary Robredo did not forget his friends, Cortes said he was invited by Mr. Robredo when Robredo received his Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 2000. He said Robredo literally followed in the footsteps of the legendary Magsaysay, who died in a plane crash, like Robredo.
Cortes said that if “President Cory Aquino is called “Icon of Democracy,” I call Robredo “Icon of Good Governance.” Cortes’ friend and fellow member of US4PGG in Chicago, Illinois Marlon L. Pecson, a native of Daraga, Albay and whose parents hailed from Naga, said “it is an honor to commemorate the passing away of statesman Jesse Robredo.
Ang pagkamatay ni Jesse Robredo ay nagpapatunay lang na ang mabubuting gawain ay tatagal hanggang sa walang hangan. (His good deeds will never die.) We also express sadness for the passing away of Sorsogon Congressman Salvador H. Escudero III.”
Evelyn de la Rosa Tolledo, a native of Pandan, Catanduanes and president of the Bikol U.S.A. of the Midwest, said the death of Secretary Robredo is not only a big loss to Bikolanos but also to the entire Philippines.
Robredo, 54, died in a plane crash on Aug. 18 in the Philippines.
Deputy Consul General Orontes V. Castro said the Philippine Consulate is expressing its deepest sympathy for the death of an outstanding public servant in the Philippines.
Among those who condoled for the death of Mr. Robredo were Maribel Varona, Marilou Berry, Grace Gargantiel, Kit Miranda and Chawiz Olario, all Philippine alumni of Apo Midwest; and Edwin Marquez of UP Los Banos and Lucena City. For his part, Joe Balmadrid, also a member of Bikol U.S.A. of the Midwest, said the deeds of every government official will now be measured against the high standard set by Secretary Robredo.
Mr. Balmadrid’s wife, Ellen Balmadrid, said being born and raised in Naga, she was privy to the good deeds of Mr. Robredo, who as mayor, transformed Naga into a world-class city. “Condolence to the Robredo family. May he rest in peace. The good hearted will be one with the Lord.”
A popular singer in the community, Ellen Balmadrid led in the singing a ccappela of Mr. Robredo’s favorite song, “Impossible Dream,” after the group of sympathizers recited a brief prayer. (email@example.com)
Filipino American community crooner Ellen Balmadrid (third from left) hits a high note of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo’s favorite song, “Impossible Dream,” Friday, Aug. 24, when the Philippine Consulate in Chicago, Illinois, welcomed the public to sign in condolence book for the untimely passing of Secretary Robredo, who died in a plane crash last Aug. 18. Photo shows from left Carlos A. Cortes, Jr., Ellen’s husband, Joe Balmadrid, Arlene Vargas and Romy Sarcilla, all members of Bikol U.S.A. of the Midwest; and Edwin Marquez of UP Los Banos and Lucena City. (jGLiPhoto by Marlon L. Pecson)
BIKOL USA MIDWEST & APO OF THE MIDWEST MOURN ROBREDO’S PASSING:
Evelyn de la Rosa Tolledo (fifth from left), a native of Pandan, Catanduanes and president of the Bikol U.S.A. of the Midwest, is joined by members of the Philippine alumni Apo Midwest and U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG) and Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) Friday, Aug. 24, when the Philippine Consulate in Chicago, Illinois welcomed the public to sign on a condolence book for the untimely passing of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash last Aug. 18. Photo also shows from left Maribel Varona, Marilou Berry and husband, Gigi Cortes, Registered Nurse from Naga City, her husband, Carlos A. Cortes, Jr. (holding the picture frame of Robredo), Deputy Consul General Orontes V. Castro, Marlon L. Pecson, from Daraga, Albay and officer of U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance; Kit Miranda and Shawiz Olario, both Philippine Alumni APO Midwest members. (jGLiPhoto by Joseph G. Lariosa)
PHILIPPINE APO MIDWEST ALUMNI:
Deputy Consul General Orontes V. Castro (fourth from left) listens to Grace Gargantiel, a Philippine alumna of APO Midwest, during public mourning for the passing of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo Friday,Aug. 24, in the Philippine Consulate General’s office in Chicago, Illinois. Others in photo from left are Edwin Marquez of UP Los Banos and Lucena City; Maribel Varona, Carlos A. Cortes, Jr., Kit Miranda, Ernie R. David, information officer of the Philippine Consulate, Chawiz Olario and Marilou Berry. (jGLiPhoto from the Facebook of Carlos A. Cortes, Jr.)