|Photo from Leni Robredo's twitter account|
After all, Leni and Jesse crossed paths days after the Bloodless Revolution inspired both of them to return to Naga City and start a career in public service.
“Ang love story namin ni Jesse ay produkto ng People Power. Bumalik kami ng Naga ni Jesse para manilbihan,” Robredo said. Jesse returned to Naga City in 1986 to assume the position of Program Director of the Bicol River Basin Development Program (BRBDP), where she met Leni.
Back then, Robredo was a fresh economics graduate from the University of the Philippines and was applying for her first job at BRBDP. She wanted a job there after hearing of great, new things happening at the agency under the helm of its new dynamic director. It was also Jesse who interviewed and hired her.
“Kaga-graduate ko pa lang sa UP ng Economics, umuwi po ako sa amin para magtrabaho. Iyong pinakauna ko pong boss ay ang aking asawa. Doon po kami nagkakilala,” Robredo said. One year after their meeting, Jesse and Leni got married.
In 1988, Jesse won as mayor of Naga City while Leni pursued her dream of becoming a lawyer, completing her law degree at University of Nueva Caceres (UNC). She passed the bar examination in 1997. Leni Gerona Robredo, stayed hidden for most of Mayor Jesse's public life. It was only during the late mayor's death did she appear, to radiate grace even in mourning clothes.
After passing the bar examination in 1997, Robredo worked as lawyer for the Public Attorney’s Office and later as a free legal aid lawyer for Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Pang Legal (SALIGAN), a non-government organization dedicated to empowering members of marginalized sectors.
For almost a decade, Robredo was a practicing lawyer who focused on cases involving the marginalized sector. Leni spent her time pro-bono legal work for farmers, fishermen, abused women, urban poor and indigenous peoples. She is connected with the Naga chapter of Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Pang Legal (Saligan), a national alternative lawyers’ group helping farmers.
She founded Lakas ng Kababaihan ng Naga. She held the position of president of the Naga City Council for Women in the past, and was a member of Federacion International de Abogados.
She was later elected Congressman of the 3rd District of Camarines Sur in the May 2013 elections. She continued her husband's legacy of governance in Naga since then.
Leni Robredo, along with her late husband, remains as Negueño's champion which the locals will always be proud to call their own.