Tinambac Councilor Jonas Soltes recalls how Jesse Robredo gave him a chance and changed his life
Tinambac Councilor Jonas Soltes is one of the many people who have benefited from the late Jesse Robredo’s generosity.
To mark Robredo’s birthday, Soltes shared how the former changed his life.
In a Facebook post, Soltes said Robredo gave him a job when he was appointed Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government during the Aquino administration.
He said he was a young journalist when he came to see Robredo for a job when the latter’s term as Naga Mayor wrapped up, and was told that he would get a message in case Robredo gets an assignment from the President.
True enough, when Robredo got named to the DILG, he asked Soltes to see him and offered him a position, asking him to choose a permanent one or a temporary one.
He said he was a nobody then and was not even in Robredo’s circle, but the latter still gave him a chance and changed his life forever.
Robredo was like that, he said, always ready to help others.
Robredo may be long gone now, but Soltes would never stop remembering him and celebrating his birthday.
“Jesse Robredo was packing up in his office by himself, ready to leave the mayoralty, when I came to visit him as a young, startup journalist ready to respond to an offer.
He told me he could not say yet if he would be taking me to work for him in Manila as part of the Aquino Administration. ‘No word from the President yet,’ he said. “I would just send you a message if ever that comes up.”
Months later he was appointed Interior and Local Government Secretary and true enough he remembered me and asked me to come to his office.
I packed up the stereotypical probinsyano way and went to Manila.
In his office he asked me whether I wanted to work permanently there or to just be ‘passing by.’ I said I just wanted to be passing by—whatever that meant. I just thought that if the Secretary would just be passing by then I also should be passing by.
(Turned out, he really would be passing by. Sooner than expected.)
Jesse Robredo once picked me, a nobody outside his circle, and changed my life forever.
I had gone to so many places with him but the clearest in my memory was when he was at the City Hall of Naga, talking with three children who were asking his permission for them to play basketball at the Naga City Gymnasium.
“Kusog kan boot nindo, “ Jesse told the kids smiling while admiring the audacity of the kids to go directly to the mayor just so they could use a city facility.
Years later, I realize that I was just like those kids. I asked Jess for a chance and he gave me just that.
Why am I telling you this? It’s because it’s his birthday today. And as much as I don’t want to celebrate the birthdays of dead people, I should celebrate Jesse’s birthday. How could I not?
Happy Birthday Jesse Robredo!” Soltes posted.