Decency, it is often said, is a liability in politics. That’s why lowlifes excel in politics. Public service should not be confused with politics. Public service is what decent human beings like Jesse Robredo do. Politics is what scoundrels do. It is important to make that distinction because public service and politics often intersect.

Jesse Robredo ventured into politics to become a public servant. He engaged in politics but he remained a public servant. Unselfish, putting others ahead of himself and his family, he went to his death with his good name intact. He now serves as a model and an inspiration for others. That’s not easy. There are not many who have the strength to resist the temptations of public office. How many idealists have gone into public service only to turn into scoundrels? How many good men ended up becoming crooked and power-mad?

Jesse Robredo should be allowed to be buried in peace, as a good man who served others unselfishly and to the best of his abilities. He does not deserve to be turned into a soapbox for assholes who want to use his death for their own or their paymaster’s political ends. I’m talking about those who accused the President of shedding crocodile tears over the tragedy, who insinuated that the President should be blamed for Robredo’s death, and who suggested that there must be a real reason for the plane crash and it is being covered up.

Wrote one:

“Dear Liberal Party Senate candidates: Is it too much to ask you not to descend, locust-like, on Naga City and make political hay out of the funeral of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo? Never mind if your party chieftain asks you to come and wave to the Bicolano crowd as you ride on top of Robredo’s hearse, as Teddyboy Locsin fears. Please resist the temptation of once again shamelessly using a national tragedy to further your political plans and confirm to everyone that you cannot see a significant number of people assembled without thinking about the number of votes you get from them.”

“Robredo died because he took a light plane that somehow could not make the trip from Cebu to Naga City on that fateful afternoon last week after delivering a speech that Aquino was supposed to give.”

“If the President and the politicians really wanted to know why Robredo died, they can always investigate the crash itself. If they wanted the people to know, as well, they would allow Robredo’s aide (who seems to have disappeared after surviving the crash and being quizzed by Aquino himself) to appear at an investigation that will be open to the public.”

Wrote another:

“HYPOCRISY: Now that Robredo has died while on official duty — standing in for his President who was in Manila — those who did not treat him properly in life, those who had kept him out of the loop, are now tripping all over themselves praising him and touching his coffin.

It is too late for all that. The melodrama is nauseating.

A housewife signing in as @malougm10 on Twitter described the farcical act as: “Naghuhugas ng GUILT. Or plain HYPOCRISY, pakitang tao.” I retweeted that.”

Those assholes think they are scoring points by turning grief over Robredo’s death into anger, if not hate, against the President and members of his administration. In fact, they are insulting the family of Robredo. They diminished Robredo, not the President, not his official family, not the Liberal Party. They painted Robredo a fool who could not tell who his real friends were, someone who did not have enough sense to differentiate sincerity from insincerity. Worst of all, they raised questions about the man’s character and motives for why would he want to serve in an administration that did not want him in the first place?

Imagine going to Robredo’s wake uninvited to tell his grieving family, “You know Jesse would still be alive if the President didn’t order him to go to Cebu and deliver a speech for him. You know they never wanted him in the administration. They never cared for him. Their tears are fake. They are only here to campaign. They will just use his hearse as a soapbox.” That is what those assholes did through their editorials. Where is the sympathy and the decency in that?

How would you feel if someone condoled with you in that manner?


Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms (