By Mario Casayuran
The Senate has been flying its flag at half-staff as a symbol of its mourning for former Senator Rene Espina who succumbed to kidney complications on September 13, 2019 at the age of 89.
On Tuesday, the 24-member Senate adopted a resolution expressing its sympathy and sincere condolence to the family of Espina.
Senate Resolution 135 was introduced by Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph G. Recto, Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, and Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon.
“He was a serious-minded person with uncompromising attitude and always mindful of the rule of law, he was actively involved not only in public service, but also in civic work, thus, he was conferred the Golden Rooster Award for his outstanding social work and various special awards for civic work,” the resolution said.
Sotto, who sponsored Resolution 135, said Espina lived his life well as a senator, governor, Cabinet secretary, administrator, lawyer, host, and columnist.
Though not much was written about the late senator, Sotto said, his accomplishments and the positions he held in the government speak much about his prominence.
As a lawyer, Sotto said, Espina was one of the topnotchers during his time. He was also known to be the youngest appointed administrator and vice-chairman of the Social Security System, who introduced the first computer system in government.
“Espina was awarded the Most Outstanding Governor in the Philippines in 1968 and 1969 during his stint as governor of Cebu and was fondly called the Builder or Father of Mactan-Mandaue Bridge for being the one behind its construction,” Sotto said.
Sotto said Espina crafted the first anti-drug law, the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, a precursor of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, of which Sotto is the principal author.
“We both share the same convictions of having a drug-free Philippines and this present Congress will continue to thrive with the legacy he left this nation. He was voted as one of the Most Outstanding Senators during his tenure,” Sotto said.
Sotto will present the resolution to Espina’s family today during the necrological service to be held at the Senate in Pasay City.
Sotto, together with current and former senators, Senate Secretary Myra Marie Villarica, Sergeant-At-Arms Rene Samonte, secretariat officials and employees, will receive the remains of Espina at the foyer of the main entrance of the Senate building at 10 a.m. and escort him to the Senate Session hall.
Expected to deliver eulogies for the late senator are Senators Sotto, Drilon, Imee Marcos, Richard Gordon, and former Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Francisco Tatad.
The Senate will host lunch for the family and relatives of the late senator after the public viewing.