THE Negros Press Club (NPC) joined colleagues in mourning the death of veteran journalist Rolando “Rolly” Espina, who once served as the president of the country’s oldest press club.
“The NPC mourns the passing of one of its past presidents, Rolly Espina. We express our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family and relatives,” said current club president Renato Duran in a statement on Friday.
Espina passed away on December 28 at the age of 84 at his home in Bacolod City.
Duran said “the club recognizes the significant contributions of Espina to the media industry. He is one of the most respected journalists in the province.”
“The NPC will always remember and forever be thankful for the service he rendered to the club and its members,” he added.
According to a statement from his family, Espina died peacefully surrounded by his children and grandchildren.
Born on August 23, 1933 in Escalante City, Negros Occidental, Espina was a journalist for more than 50 years, from the pre-Martial Law Manila Chronicle, to bureau chief of the Philippine News Agency, the Philippine Star, to correspondent of various wire agencies and foreign periodicals.
He was also one of the founders of The Visayan Daily Star, and was chairman of the Negros Daily Bulletin.
Espina was also twice vice president of the National Press Club during the dual terms of his close friend and later National Democratic Front officer Antonio Zumel.
A noted civic leader, Espina was the charter president of the Bacolod Capital Lions Club, and was a recipient of several awards in recognition of his professional and civic accomplishments, including the Ang Banwahanon Award from the City of Bacolod.
Espina was the eldest of six children of Fulgencio Espina, an artist from Cebu, and Gracia Lopez, a niece of national hero Graciano Lopez Jaena.
He was married to the late pediatrician Lourdes Llavore of Fabrica, Sagay City with whom he had 11 children and, at last count, 23 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Dr. Lourdes Espina passed away in September 2000.
He is survived by his children Grace and Manuel Engallado, Nonoy and Leny, Inday Espina-Varona, Malou, Toto and Jocelyn, Mary Anne, Maté, Nenen, May and Ramon, Junjun and Merci, and Jay and Bingbing.
Espina’s remains lie in state at the Faith 3 and 4 halls of the Rolling Hills Memorial Chapels.
Interment is scheduled on January 6, after the 9 a.m. mass, at the Rolling Hills Memorial Park. (NLG with reports from PNA)