Journalist Rolando “Rolly” Espina passed away peacefully on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017 surrounded by children and grandchildren in his home in Bacolod City. He was 84.
Rolly was born on Aug. 23, 1933 in Escalante, Negros Occidental, the eldest of six children born to 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, with whom he had 11 children and, at last count, 23 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Nene, the love of his life, went on ahead of him in September 2000.
Rolly was a journalist for more than 50 years: From the pre-Martial Law Manila Chronicle, to bureau chief of the Philippine News Agency. He was a correspondent of various wire agencies and foreign periodicals. He was also one of the early editors of the Philippine Daily Star, before moving to the Philippine STAR and the Evening STAR as editor and columnist.
He was one of the founders of the Visayan Daily Star and was chairman of the Negros Daily Bulletin. He also served as president of the Negros Press Club and was elected twice as vice president of the National Press Club during the dual terms of his close friend and later National Democratic Front officer Antonio Zumel.
Rolly was also a noted civic leader, a charter president of the Bacolod Capital Lions Club.
He was the recipient of several awards in recognition of his professional and civic accomplishments, among these the Banwahanon Award.
He is survived by his children Grace and Manuel Engallado, Nonoy and Leny, Inday Espina-Varona, Malou, Toto and Jocelyn, Mary Anne, Mate, Nenen, May and Ramon, Junjun and Merci, and Jay and Bingbing.
His daughter Inday was editor in chief of the Philippines Graphic. We at the Graphic send our heartfelt condolences to the Espina family, along with our prayers for the repose of their patriach’s soul. May God grant him eternal rest and may perpetual light shine upon him.