Former president, senators pay tribute to Espina

Senate President Vicente Sotto III today presented a resolution expressing the Senate's profound sympathy and condolences to the family of Senator Rene Espina, who succumbed to kidney complications Friday, September 13, 2019.

The resolution extolled Espina's achievements as a lawyer, governor of Cebu, cabinet member and senator of the Seventh Congress from 1970 to 1973.

In his eulogy, Sotto said Espina was a great man who demonstrated that "a life dedicated to public service is a life lived well."

"I salute the Honorable Espina for living a humble and full life as a public servant, away from the funfare or self-praise. Here was a man who lived so that his countrymen may enjoy the benefits of his labor," Sotto said.

Espina crafted the country's first anti-drug law, Republic Act 6425, or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, a precursor of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, of which Sotto was the principal author.

"When he was a senator, I was into sports, music and entertainment. But there is something about Sen. Rene Espina that would resonate with my origins and my advocacies," Sotto added.

For his part, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Espina had identified the country's illegal drug problem 44 years ago when it was still an emerging threat to human security.

He said Espina lamented the adverse effects of illegal drugs on the Filipino family and society in his column at the Manila Bulletin.

"Even in the sunset years of his life, he saw the need for Filipinos to get their act together to achieve the country's development goals," Drilon said.

The nation had lost a true Filipino, according to former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. He said Espina was a loyal, patriotic and worthy son of the country who served the country and the Filipino well.

"In more than 30 years I have known him, I have never heard Rene curse or say unkind words. He was an honorable man. We will always feel the pain of his departure. We will long for him deeply in different ways," Enrile said in his eulogy.

Former Sen. Francisco Tatad enumerated Espina's contributions to the government, who served as the youngest administrator of the Social Security System at the age of 33 while Senator Imee Marcos recounted her father's friendship with Espina and how the latter spear-headed the construction of the bridge that connected Mactan and Mandaue City that spurred investments in Cebu.

Espina's son, Eric, thanked all the senators, relatives and Senate employees who attended the necrological service.

"I want to extend our deepest gratitude, especially to Senate President Sotto, Senate Minority Franklin Drilon, Senator Imee Marcos, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, President Joseph Estrada and of course all senators who took your time to be here. I thank you and the Philippine Senate," he said.

Also present during the eulogy were Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, his wife, Loi, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senators Nancy Binay, Christopher "Bong" Go, Richard Gordon, Panfilo Lacson, Ronald dela Rosa and Cynthia Villar.

Source: Senate of the Philippines