Born on May 27, 1958, Jesus “Jesse” Manalastas Robredo was the son of Jose Chan-Robredo Sr. and Marcelina Manalastas Robredo. He was the 3rd of 5 siblings with one brother and three sisters. Jesse was married to Atty. Maria Leonor Gerona Robredo and father to three daughters—Jessica Marie (Aika), Janine Patricia (Tricia), and Jillian Therese (Jill).
Robredo finished his primary education at Naga Parochial School, secondary at Ateneo de Naga University, and earned his undergraduate degrees in Industrial Management Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at De La Salle University. He was later accepted as an Edward Mason Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he graduated with a Masters of Public Administration degree. He also finished his MBA degree at the University of the Philippines Diliman where he was granted the Graduate School and Faculty Organization award for scholarly excellence.
Jesse was considered a late bloomer by his family and was not even expected to enter the field of politics. His first line of work was with the San Miguel Corporation in the Physical Distribution Technical Services of the General Services Division until he returned to Naga to spearhead the Bicol River Basin Development Program.
In 1988, Jesse was elected Mayor of Naga City and at age 29, he is still the youngest to be elected for the position in Philippine history. Jesse would later run for five more terms, a total of 18 years in office and during his time as mayor, Naga City was transformed from being “dull and lethargic to one of the Most Improved Cities in Asia” by Asiaweek Magazine in 1999. After serving as Naga’s mayor, Robredo was appointed as Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government by President Benigno Aquino III. Jesse has maintained a clean record for all his years as a public servant, and on August 18, 2012, the Piper PA-34-200 Seneca I Aircraft he boarded to Naga crashed off the shore of Masbate City. The plane never made it to the airport and Robredo’s body was retrieved three days later, 800 meters from the shore and at 180 feet below sea level.