Sa isang sulat, ipinarating ni dating Pangulong Noynoy Aquino kay VP Leni ang paghanga nito sa kaniyang asawang si Interior Sec. Jesse Robredo. Narito ang buong liham, na ibinahagi ni VP Leni ngayong araw:
Dear Atty. Robredo,
Your letter touched me deeply. It is a manifestation of the same generosity of spirit; consideration of others to the extent of total abnegation of the self; and complete commitment to the community that impressed us so much during these tragic times.
I will also convey your appreciation to all those who worked tirelessly to find Jesse. The anxiety was great for everyone, but the commitment of all concerned to do their part was also limitless. It was as much a personal mission for those involved as much as it was a duty; one willingly shared by those from the private sector, and even other countries, who helped.
You are very kind for thanking me for the tributes and efforts made by the government to honor your husband. They were, however, poor substitutes for what we all felt, and continue to feel are his due. The man who serves with honor deserves the fullest honors. Not as consolation, not even as tribute. But as a challenge. By rendering honors, the republic we all aspire to nurture sets the bar higher for all who serve the country.
I have the privilege of informing you that Congress has authorized me to confer on your husband the Quezon Service Cross. It is the highest award of our government, which only four Filipinos have received: Carlos P. Romulo, Emilio Aguinaldo, Ramon Magsaysay, and my father. When you would be able to receive this award on behalf of Jesse, it would be an honor to present it to you and your family.
You were a source of strength for us all; not only for those of us privileged to have worked with your husband in government, but for the nation. Our country, already united in grief, embraced you and your children in solidarity – and in turn, derived comfort from you, as all of us strove to come to terms with the loss of Jesse.
I know how much your late husband strove to give what so few in public life have been able to provide: a strong, reliable presence in the life of his family. That he managed to do so is one more example of the many gifts he left our people. It is an example that I believe will be one of his genuine, living legacies to our collective effort to achieve change. That is because as you continue to serve our country, and as your children grow and embark on their own lives, Jesse will always be there, because he was always there in every crucial step of your family’s growth.
Let me close by thanking you and your children for your kind words. As I said in Naga City, we who served with your husband will be by your side, always. We have so much more to do, to achieve the reforms and changes Jesse believed in so deeply. My door is always open to you.
Sincerely yours, Benigno S. Aquino III
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