IN PHOTOS: Otso Diretso visits tomb of Jesse Robredo

CAMARINES SUR, Philippines – The senatorial candidates of the Otso Diretso ticket paid their respects to the late interior secretary Jesse Robredo on Wednesday, February 13. 

It was the first time for the opposition senatorial lineup to be complete since the campaign officially kicked off on Tuesday, February 12. (READ: Roxas says solo campaign kickoff without Otso Diretso a non-issue)

Before visiting Jesse Robredo's tomb, 7 out of the 8 candidates – Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, reelectionist Senator Bam Aquino, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc, ex-solicitor general Florin Hilbay, election lawyer Romy Macalintal, and ex-Quezon congressman Erin Tañada – barnstormed in Iriga City. 

Former interior secretary Mar Roxas finally joined his slate mates at the Eternal Gardens Memorial Park in Naga City on Wednesday afternoon. (READ: Otso Diretso heads to Leni and Jesse's turf to woo Bicolano vote)

PRAYERS FOR JESSE. Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Gabriel Bordado leads a prayer for Jesse Robredo. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

PRAYERS FOR JESSE. Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Gabriel Bordado leads a prayer for Jesse Robredo.

Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Gabriel Bordado, a Liberal Party member like most members of the slate, led a short prayer for Jesse Robredo. Diokno then offered flowers to the late Cabinet official.

Two flower wreaths bearing the words "Liberal Party" and "Otso Diretso" were displayed at the tomb.

FLOWER WREATHS. These flower wreaths bearing the words 'Liberal Party' and 'Otso Diretso' are displayed at Jesse Robred's tomb. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

FLOWER WREATHS. These flower wreaths bearing the words 'Liberal Party' and 'Otso Diretso' are displayed at Jesse Robred's tomb.

Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

At the cemetery, Roxas said he remembers the brand of leadership that Robredo has been known for. 

"Nasasariwa sa akin 'yung tatak ng liderato ni Sec Jess na nagsasaad ng transparency, ng inclusiveness, at saka good government. Si Sec Jesse nagsimula siya rito bilang mayor ng isang maliit at slow-moving na lungsod na na-transform niyo to one of the most improved cities in Asia," said Roxas.

(I remember the brand of leadership of Secretary Jesse, one of transparency, inclusiveness, and good government. Secretary Jesse started here as a mayor of a small and slow-moving city, which he transformed into one of the most improved cities in Asia.) 

Jesse Robredo was known for his "tsinelas leadership" when he served as Naga City mayor, and even when he joined the Cabinet of then-president Benigno Aquino III as chief of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.  

Jesse Robredo died in a tragic plane crash in 2012, thrusting his wife Leni Robredo into the political spotlight. Leni Robredo ran and won for Camarines Sur congresswoman in 2013. And in 2016, she bested 6 male and incumbent senators in the vice presidential race.

OFFERING. Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno offers flowers for the late Jesse Robredo. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

OFFERING. Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno offers flowers for the late Jesse Robredo.

Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

Aquino regards their visit to Jesse Robredo's tomb as "very symbolic."

"Very symbolic because si Sec Jesse [ang] leader natin na matino at mahusay and I think marami sa atin 'yun 'yung sinisikap naming maging – maging matino, maging mahusay, maging hindi lang mabuting tao pero maging leader. And I think 'yun ang hinahanap ng tao ngayon eh," Aquino said.

(This is very symbolic because Secretary Jesse was the kind of leader who was decent and excellent, and I think many of us aspire to be like that – be decent, be excellent, and not just be a good person but a good leader, too. And I think that's what the people are looking for these days.) 

The Otso Diretso candidates are banking on the endorsement of Leni Robredo to boost their Senate bids. Of the 8, only Roxas and Aquino have been making it into the so-called winners' circle or Magic 12 in preelection surveys. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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