Under the close scrutiny of people using the media and social tools, widow Leonor “Leni” Robredo took the occasion of the first death anniversary of her husband in style and stride.
One year ago, today, her popular and populist husband perished in a plane crash and met his fate in the sea waters off the shore of Masbate city. It was an event that became the strong compelling reason to bring out the best among the Filipinos. What ensued was a powerful showing and sharing of comfort and understanding of people known and not known to the bereaved wife and children of the beloved son of Naga.
Last August 15, the first-time congresswoman of the 3rd congressional district of Camarines sur, embarked on a sentimental journey which would otherwise close the deep wound brought about by the loss of her husband.
She went to Cebu via a commercial flight, contrary to some expectations that she would duplicate the route of her ill-fated husband who returning for home chartered a twin engine four-seater Piper Seneca under Capt. Jessup Bahinting and Nepalese student pilot Kshitiz Chand.
Leni met Councilor Margot Osmeña, wife of former Cebu city congressman Tomas Osmeña, a good friend of the late Cabinet secretary, that her flight to Cebu was her first since her husband died.
After Secretary of Local Government Jesse Robredo’s death, Leni had to travel from Naga to Manila and return via passenger buses, usually a gruelling eight hour bumpy road trip.
In Cebu, Leni also joined in the launching of a photo exhibit in honor of her husband at SM City Cebu.
Leni was able to meet Margarita Bahinting, the widow of Jessup. They were able to talk for two and a half hours over breakfast at Waterfront Airport Hotel and Casino Mactan in Lapu-Lapu. The hours passed unnoticed as they exchanged stories about how their respective families coped with grief and loss.
The meeting was capped with a walking tour of the Aviatour hangar in Lapu-lapu city. There Leni personally gaped at a Piper Seneca plane, the exact model Jesse Robredo took for his last flight.
The trip to Masbate involved taking a (water) fast-craft from Sorsogon port town of Pilar. She was accompanied by some officials of the city of Naga, the same personalities that went through the search operation immediately after the crash last year.
On Sunday in Naga city, masses and commemorative events were held, finally a sign she will stop wearing black dress coming into terms with the grief of losing her husband.