MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Friends and colleagues of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo remember him as the best example of a public servant.
In a statement, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma remembered Robredo as an “exemplary public servant, a pathfinder in implementing innovations in governance.”
He said Robredo inspired “all those with whom he worked by dint of his enthusiasm and devotion to duty. Our prayers go with his family.”
Former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said: "Jesse was an exceptional public servant, able and faithful to his oath of office. The nation is poorer because of this tragedy. God rest his soul and bless his family."
Rep. Erin Tañada said the country has just lost a public servant, who gave public service a “new dimension.”
Supreme Court acting spokesperson Maria Victoria Gleoresty Guerra said: “Secretary Robredo has been an indispensable partner in judicial reform as a member of the Justice Sector Coordinating Council…”
For his part, Energy Secretary Rene Almendras also sent his condolences. He said it was hard for him to call off plans to send remotely operated underwater vehicles coming from the Malampaya natural gas facility.
In a separate statement, Vice President Jejomar Binay said: “I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Sec. Robredo. I urge everyone to pray for them, that they trust God’s plan for all of us. They need our wholehearted prayers and support.”
Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, a member of the Kaya Natin Movement which Robredo co-founded, said he hopes for the late secretary's "uncorrupted public service [to] serve as beacon to generations of Filipinos to come."
OFW rights advocate Susan Ople, Robredo's fellow Harvard alumnus, described the Interior secretary as a "family man."
"Noong nasa Harvard kami, si Kuya Jesse basta pagtapos ng klase diretso na siya sa flat kay Leni at mga anak niya. Sobrang family man," Ople said.
Senator Pia Cayetano, meanwhile, admired how Robredo transform Naga when he served as the city's mayor. " For years, I've told people how progressive and inspiring Naga City, one of my favorite cities in the country.," she said.
Fellow Cabinet member and Lasallian , Education Secretary Armin Luistro, meanwhile, said he is "urged by Sec Jesse's legacy to continue to believe that there are good men and women who are willing to sacrifice and give their lives for the sake of our nation."
Former Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr., on the other hand, said Robredo led "the country to the path of good governance that improves the lot of the Filipino people."
"His leadership, fortitude and persistence embodied this pursuit, calling us to unite as we honor him. He was true to his purpose to the very end," the former senator said.
Robredo was a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee in 2000.
Robredo's political party, the Liberal Party, commended the late secretary for his passion and dedication.
"We at the Liberal Party mourn the passing of our beloved Executive Vice President, DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo. Sec. Jess has been an inspiration for all of us, given his steadfast dedication in public service and indisputable track record in good governance," the party said.
"While we are saddened by this great loss, we will make sure that his significant contributions and legacy in the Party and our country will forever live. We continuously pray for strength of Sec. Jesse's family at this time of loss, but are comforted by the thought that our Sec. Jesse is now home with our Creator."
The Palace, several local government units and agencies are also hoisting their flags at half mast to observe the passing of Robredo.
A mass was held at the La Salle Green Hills in San Juan at 11 a.m., according to Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda.