During the first day of Jesse’s wake in Naga, the Malacañang people who were in Naga were scrambling to find a big Philippine flag in all the stores in Naga. They said PNoy saw the TV coverage and he didn’t like the flag draped on the coffin because it was too small. There was none. So nagpadala sila ng big flag from Manila sa next available flight to Naga.
Later during the day, PNoy suggested to bring Jesse’s body to Manila for a short wake. I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea. I remember telling Sec Dinky Corazon Juliano-Soliman at that time that Jesse only had few friends in the City and very few people might come. I was assured that so many people wanted to pay their respects but couldn’t go to Naga. I finally agreed.
I thought the wake would be at the DILG or his office at Camp Crame because it was bigger. When I was informed it will be in Malacanang, I got worried. I knew that security protocols would be tough and Jesse’s friends from the different sectors he has been working with might not be able to have access. They promised that they would find a way. So, eventually, they decided that the wake would be at the Kalayaan Hall because it would be easier to secure and they guaranteed that everyone will be given access.
The girls and I rode on a small plane to Manila with Jesse’s casket beside us. We were immediately brought to Malacañang and the President personally received us. Jesse was welcomed with Military Honors and I was informed beforehand of the dress code. I wore a black dress and a pair of black Bally pumps which was a pasalubong from my mother-in-law from one of her trips to the US many years prior. I have not worn those for a very long time but I felt it was appropriate for the occasion. All the members of the Cabinet were there and they were in their formal barongs, including Pnoy, with black bands on their sleeves.I am posting pictures here for posterity.
After the honors, we marched behind the casket with PNoy and were on our way to Kalayaan Hall when I felt the entire rubber sole of my right shoe falling off. I tried dragging my right foot, para hindi matuluyan, pero every step that I did, nararamdaman kong lumalala siya. Dito ako sobrang bumilib sa PSG. Siguro nakita nila na bumuka na talaga yung sapatos ko, and they were so quick to pick up the detached sole. Nakarating ako sa loob ng Kalayaan Hall na wala na yung ilalim ng sapatos ko. Ramdam ko na yung ground at yung sahig. Pagpasok, may maiksing ceremony pa. Buti nalang, after that, PNoy suggested that we take a rest first because it was just 8am and we did not sleep a wink the night before. Pagpasok namin sa isang room beside Kalayaan Hall, naghihintay na yung PSG na may dalang rugby. Sobrang boy scout!!! Naalala ko, habang pinapatuyo nila yung rugby sa sapatos ko, dumating si then Senate President Enrile and Speaker Belmonte to present to me the Resolutions of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Hinarap ko sila na nakapaa ako 🙂
In less than an hour, meron dumating na bagong pair of black pumps. Pinabili ni then Social Secretary Susan D. Reyes at the nearby SM Manila. Parisian yung brand niya. Buhay na buhay pa until now (after 9 years). In fact, I used the same pair last Thursday when I went to Heritage Park for Pnoy (Thank you, Susan). Pasensiya na sa Police Academy moment.
After they left, nakatulog akong nakaupo sa couch sa pagod. I had very little sleep for almost a week already. Yun pala, PNoy came in while I was sleeping. Nung nagising ako, may bed na sa loob na room. Hiyang hiya ako. Sabi nung isang staff, pinapasok daw ni Sir para makapagpahinga kami ng mga bata. May iniwan pa siyang maraming Daim chocolates for us. After work, tumambay na si PNoy sa wake and he said yung chocolates daw favorite ni Jess. Pag meron daw nun sa office niya, laging nag tatake home yung asawa ko. Haha. Nakakahiya talaga kami. So whever I see those red wrappers Daim is known for, si PNoy naalala ko.
First night of the wake, PNoy was still there until way past midnight. Nakikipag kuwentuhan lang siya sa mga staff sa likod. The people there were already advising us to go to our hotel to rest pero nahihiya akong magpaalam umalis kasi andyan pa si Sir. After a while, nilakasan ko na yung loob ko magtanong sa isang staff kung anong oras kaya uuwi si PNoy, yung sagot sa akin “Ma’am, naghihintay lang po siya kasi ayaw niyang umalis na andito pa kayo”. Oopps!! Lalong nakakahiya.
– istorya post mula sa personal facebook account ni Vice President Leni Robredo.
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