VP Leni lets Jesse speak for her: ‘My wife serves as my conscience’

Published February 19, 2022, 3:30 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo has just gotten her “most important endorsement” after somebody sent her a video of her late husband, ex-Interior secretary Jesse Robredo, speaking about the “clean political life” they led because she served as his “conscience.”

Vice President Leni Robredo and her late husband Jesse Robredo (VP Leni Robredo/Facebook)

The video was unearthed from an interview her husband did almost 22 years ago when he received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, the first Filipino mayor to be honored.

“I got married at the age of 22. Pero noong buhay pa si Jesse, madalas niya sabihin sa akin na sana inasawa niya akong mas maaga. Siyempre bola (smirking emoji). Di ko akalain na sinabi niya ito sa isang public interview na ngayon ko lang napanood (When Jesse was still alive, he always told me that he should’ve married me earlier. Of course, he’s just flattering me. I didn’t expect he would really say this in one public interview that I just watched now),” she wrote on Instagram.

In the video, the beloved Naga City mayor credited his wife for trekking the “right path” in politics.

“If I can just go through it all over again, probably I would have married my wife much earlier. My wife, to a large extent, serves as my conscience. We led a clean political life was because of the influence of my wife. She constantly guides me to walk the difficult but right path almost all the time,” he said.

Robredo tagged her daughters Aika, Tricia, and Jillian in the post, to which the eldest, Aika, replied: “Taas ng benchmark (The benchmark is high)!”

Her husband’s death was responsible for her entrance in politics and for a time, supporters only knew of the Vice President because of the late Interior secretary’s works.

Such is also the inspiration behind poet Jose Dalisay’s “Jesse’s Poem,” which was one of the 100 poems collected for the “100 Pink Poems Para Kay Leni” gifted to Robredo by the country’s National Artists and various creatives.

“Between the two of us we knew / This was always she — The one to crush a rock in hand / To set the jewel free,” part of the poem read.

“If this was what I died for / Let us rejoice. The mother of our children / Has found her voice / Singing neither lullabies / Nor dirges for the dead / But battle hymns of love and hope / For the armies to be led,” it ended.

The book was a Valentine’s Day gift for Robredo who was also officially endorsed by National Artists poet Virgilio “Rio Alma” Almario (literature), master of contemporary art Ben Cab (visual arts), musician and conductor Ryan Cayabyab (music), Dr. Ramon Santos (music), and Ballet Philippines founder Alice Reyes (dance).

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be the subject of a poem, let alone 100 of them. Capturing different aspects of my life, and our hopes and aspirations. Varying writing styles, different interpretations, which all together reflect the diversity that brings life to our movement,” Robredo said in a Facebook post.

“Valentine’s Day since losing Jesse has been less of a remarkable affair. But this effort is truly a highlight for me, and very much appreciated,” she added.

Robredo thanked the writers and creatives who became part of the project, as well as the San Anselmo Publications, Inc.

“Ramdam na ramdam ko po sa librong ito ang pagmamahal na magpapanalo sa ating laban (I can really feel in this book the love that will make us win this battle),” she said.