“Dear Aika” — A Father’s Day Commemoration through the Letters of Jesse Robredo

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Whether one is the head of a nuclear family or of an entire nation, there is no denying that alongside motherhood, fatherhood is one of the noblest professions of all time. In Philippine history, there have been many notable parent figures, but none so recent or as present as the late statesman Secretary Jesse M. Robredo (May 27, 1958 – August 18, 2012).

His physical form may have departed, but with the recent election of his wife Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ as vice president of the Philippines and the consequent spotlight on his three daughters — Aika, Tricia, and Jill — felt more than ever is Jesse’s benevolent influence not only as a politician, but also as a family man.

The letters displayed below are this writer’s well-meant, terribly grateful tribute to this man, and to all fathers in the world.

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Soon after the letters were posted on Leni’s Facebook page in 2013, the local media were roused because of this privileged glimpse into the personal life of a politician. However, it may be said that the real privilege lies in seeing a Papa’s love and quiet reassurance for his much-missed daughter.

In 2014, another letter from Jesse Robredo resurfaced in Rappler. Here, it is a timely reminder for adults — young and old — on the disillusioning ways of the world after school and on the dignity of work:

If Jesse’s letters are anything to go by, the Robredo daughters were supremely lucky to have had their father, even if their time together was cut short. Then again, would not any person almost always say the same?

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The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature — so writes the French novelist Antoine François Prévost. Indeed, fathers are protectors, confidantes, chauffeurs, heroes; they fulfill so many roles at the same time but manage to remain each of them unique, masterpieces in their own right. Where would we be without them?

Mabuhay ang mga tatay!

 

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