The collective website has since been shut down. Here is an archive of the article http://archive.is/owcju
The collective website has since been shut down. Here is an archive of the article http://archive.is/owcju
This will be an attempt to distill part 1 of a series of articles claiming to reveal "the shocking truth behind Leni and Jesse Robredo" by an anonymous group who call themselves "Collective."
The article is dived into eight parts.
Part 1 details the family history and entry into politics of Jesse Robredo.
In 1986, Jesse was picked by his uncle Luis, then an Assemblyman, to run as mayor of Naga City and won. Four years later, they would part ways and become bitter political rivals, with Luis even denying in public that they were blood relatives.
They claim that the reason for the split between Jesse and his uncle Luis was illegal gambling.
Now at the bottom of their disagreement was the issue of Jueteng. As we mentioned earlier, Luis and his son controlled Jueteng in the province. Jesse's claim, however, that he resisted his uncle's evil plans is a blatant lie.
Part 2 seeks to validate the claim that Jueteng continued to flourish under Jesse Robredo despite his assertions to the contrary.
First they link Jesse to Eddie Mercado who made his fortune through illegal gambling.
Eduardo “Eddie” Mercado is a wealthy businessman who lorded over Pacol, one of Naga City's upland barangays. Eddie amassed a fortune mainly through illegal gambling, particularly Jueteng.
Eddie Mercado and Jesse Robredo became close friends because of their shared disdain for the Villafuertes.
They claim that Jesse owed favours to Eddie's brother Sonny for his political support and that these favours included toleration of his Jueteng operation.
To say that Jueteng in Naga was completely eradicated by Jesse during his stint is complete and utter crap. Jesse would claim that he persuaded the late Sonny Mercado to shut down his Jueteng operation in Naga, purportedly using the latter's son (who worked at City Hall at the time) as leverage to negotiate the closure [Scharff]. Nothing can be farther from the truth. While giving the public the illusion that he was against Jueteng, Jesse tolerated the Mercados since they were close friends, and had a political debt to pay since Sonny supported Jesse's mayoral bid against Roco in 1988.
Part 3 gives us the origin story of the "Robredo brand."
Jesse knew that in politics, nothing is certain. Politicians are mortal, and a single bullet or a deadly stroke or a tactical miscalculation can undo years of hard work and fortification. Symbols, on the other hand, endured. Slowly, Jesse crafted a persona that would become his own unique brand in politics. He started wearing shorts and slippers to work and visited the barangays tirelessly. He embraced his constituents, and his constituents embraced him. He would personally join firefighters whenever fires broke out, manning the fire hoses to the awe of the admiring public, and would be seen directing traffic while wearing his trademark slippers and shorts. In the aftermath of every typhoon, he would pick up a shovel and clean up the streets himself, with a band of supporters around him and local media covering his every move.
Through conscious and deliberate perception engineering, Jesse Robredo ceased becoming an ordinary politician and transformed himself into a symbol. His name would be synonymous with his brand of leadership. Largely, Jesse was a political maverick. He reinvented the rules and injected freshness in an arena dominated by traditional politicians and dinosaurs. Soon, outsiders began to take notice, and awards started coming in.
|Just like Jesse Robredo|
Part 4 tells us how he started winning awards for being such a handsome, effective, and charismatic leader.
At this point in time, Jesse started winning every imaginable award related to local governance. Capitalizing on his new found fame outside Naga, Jesse organized a team of writers, media men and hardcore loyalists that would become his PR backbone for the rest of his political career. Manning this group are close friends and loyal allies - mostly from Ateneo - Gabby Bordado, Joe Perez, Willy Prilles, Jun Mongoso, Francis Soler, Frank Mendoza, Lito Del Rosario, and others. This team would relentlessly scour the earth for award giving bodies, submit nominations, provide write ups praising Jesse to the high heavens and negotiate incessant media coverage. This was the pre-Internet age and there were no cell phones or social media yet during this time, yet this group can put young present-day marketers to shame. If there were few nominees, this team would exploit the void and barrage the award giving bodies with news clippings and positive write ups.
Then one of his most loyal yet poorest followers, Gabby Bordado, stumbled upon the Ramon Magsaysay Award which:
was touted as Asia's version of the Nobel Prize.
The award would be prestigious for Jesse Robredo and since Jesse was rich he did not need the $50,000 that came with it. So:
One day Gabby went into Jesse's office in City Hall and discussed to him the Ramon Magsaysay Award. Unbeknownst to many, winning the Ramon Magsaysay Award will not only grant fame, honor and prestige to the recipient, it carries with it a hefty cash prize as well. The amount - $50,000. This amount may be loose change for Jesse Robredo, who at the time actually controlled a string of secret businesses that had to do with trading, beverages, construction and real estate, on top of the numerous properties he had all over the city and investments all over the country and abroad (Jesse was an extremely cautious player. He befriended local Chinese and Filipino businessmen who would become the fronts and dummies for his numerous real estate holdings and business interests). But for Gabby, this shit was like hitting the jackpot. So Gabby makes a proposition to Jesse that he would move heaven and earth to make him win the particular award on the condition that Jesse would give him half the cash prize. Jesse simply smiled. Excited, Gabby took that as a yes and went straight to work.
But Robredo reneged on the deal (if there even was a deal and not just a smile.)
Of course during and after the award Gabby found it hard to discuss with Jesse his end of the bargain. Jesse was busy providing interviews left and right, and often had to come to Manila to satisfy the media's demand for coverage. Gabby was anxious but he had no choice. He had to wait. After the long mind-numbing wait Gabby finally had a chance to confront his boss about their agreement. Jesse, grateful for Gabby's hard work, told him that his reward was ripe for the picking - a trip to Hong Kong with his wife.
Gabby felt a sudden rush of blood to the head. He engineers the fucker's win and all he was willing to give him in return was a crappy trip to Hong Kong?
Part 5 tells us all about Emilio Aguinaldo who became one of Robredo's fiercest opponents.
Jesse's council was pretty much a rubber stamp council. How the hell could it not be? For seven straight election years, Jesse handpicked his team and made sure whoever sat there would be as docile and subservient to his demands, while making it appear as if they're not. Opposition was met with swift action, and perceived rogues were nipped in the bud. One of these budding rogues was Emil Aguinaldo.
Emil was growing increasingly vocal. He detested the way Jesse treated the council. This, of course, did not sit well with Jesse.
So Emilio started digging into Robredo's business holdings.
He exposed Jesse's anomalies in the media and filed dozens of cases against him. Graft cases in the Ombudsman that numbered more than 50. He scoured the earth for Jesse's alleged hidden properties and established paper trails to prove his case. He was unstoppable. His tenacity was fueled by a deep hatred that turned him into a one man wrecking machine. At first, Jesse considered him a nuisance, and paid little heed to his attacks. Emil's association with Luis did not help him win public opinion. Jesse branded him as his uncle's attack dog. But as the cases piled up, and Emil was proving himself to be more of a nuisance, securing incriminating documents that may ultimately prove him right in court, Jesse started to act.
Robredo's uncle Luis funded Emilio who filed numerous cases against Robredo.
Emil, with the financial backing of Luis Villafuerte, was getting closer and closer to the truth - exposing anomalous deals, hidden properties, and Jesse's links to the illegal gambling trade. Robredo faced a slew of allegations, among them that he received Jueteng payola from the first cousin of his wife Leni, a certain Alex Tang. Another report had it that his brother Butch had some business dealings with Charlie “Atong” Ang, the disgraced gambling adviser of former President Joseph Estrada. Included among the cases filed by Aguinaldo was the questionable construction of the Naga City Coliseum, an architectural monstrosity which was ironically named after him when he died.
One day Emilio boarded a bus bound for Manila to follow up on the cases he had filed against Robredo.
In June 8, 2008, Emil Aguinaldo decided to go to Manila to follow up the cases he filed before the Ombudsman. He had grown impatient with the slow pace of the Ombudsman in resolving the cases against Jesse. Aguinaldo’s wife Marina would later reveal that her husband had to sell three pigs so he would have money to go to Manila. He boarded the bus and was never seen since.
The implication is that Robredo had him assassinated.
While it was a commonly held perception that Jesse was a straight arrow, political realities in the ground necessitated certain practical dispositions. After all, Naga was no different from any other political turf - where conflicting interests thrived. In the interest of self-preservation and political survival, Jesse was not one to shy away from employing drastic measures, especially if there was no other option. Like any other local political chieftain, he had a go-to guy whenever he needed some dirty stuff taken care of. This would come in the person of Juanito “Totoy” Ona. Totoy, being a notorious hired assassin, was listed as the Number 1 most wanted criminal in Camarines Sur for a string of robberies and murders attributed to him.
Parts 6 and 7 deal with drug users and dealers under the protection of Robredo.
Part 8 deals with his condo in Manila and irregularities associated with it.
Jesse found the weekly commute to Metro Manila incredibly tiring. Naga was not only his kingdom, it was his comfort zone. Upon his death, Leni would claim that Naga was Jesse's "happy place." No matter how demanding his new work was, Jesse always found a way to go home each week. In keeping with his "brand," Jesse would ride the bus from Naga to Manila, and would often times ask his close friend Rudy Guinhawa to pick him up at the bus station. Under the circumstances, Rudy was the most practical choice to come fetch him every time he's in Manila. They both had penthouse units at the rooftop of 20 Lansbergh Place in Tomas Morato, Quezon City, which was just a few minutes away from the Cubao bus station. The condo building was developed by Rudy's company, 24K Development Corporation in 2004. The tower ran 20 stories high, had a pool in the roof deck and a lobby that looked fairly impressive despite the building's scruffy exterior [Lansbergh]. On paper, Rudy Guinhawa owned the building. In truth, it was Jesse's.
The day after Jesse's plane crashed, the "rented" condo unit would figure prominently in the headlines, as Jesse's Undersecretary Rico Puno attempted to break in with a couple of high-ranking police officials, purportedly to secure "sensitive" documents, fueling suspicions of a cover up. President Aquino would later admit giving the orders to Puno, in an apparent attempt to save face as the controversial Puno came under fire for the attempted intrusion [Newsflash].
Coincidentally, this same rented unit was the subject of one of the cases filed by Emilio Aguinaldo before his mysterious disappearance in 2008. Louie Ortega, a former Naga City Councilor and another staunch critic of Jesse, filed another case in 2012 after Aguinaldo's case was dismissed by the Ombudsman in 2011. He accused the Interior Secretary of acts of dishonesty and culpable violation of the 1987 Constitution, among others, for not listing the condominium unit in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN). In response, Jesse's lawyer and incumbent Naga councilor Nelson Legacion, who notarized Robredo’s SALNs, said the condominium unit in Quezon City which the latter did not declare in his SALNs (2006-2010) was owned by Jocelyn Austria* and Marcelina Manalastas Robredo, Jesse's mother [Bicolmail].
This is part 1 of a series of articles and giving a summary is difficult because the political machinations of Jesse Robredo are so complex and every step and detail must be taken into account. Ostensibly the gist of the matter is that Jesse Robredo is no saint and his wife Leni, who rose to political power on his hallowed memory, is also no saint.
Just reading the first part one can see all the same old political beasts raising up their heads. Specifically cronyism and a blatant turning of the eye for political and monetary favours. It is a tale as old as time.