A Tribute to Rolly Espina

In my long years of close friendship, fellowship in the media profession and working together in the print media industry, I can state without fear of contradiction that the man I consider my best model of a compleat journalist in his colorful lifetime is no other than our colleague and elder brother in the profession - Rolly Espina.

Not known to many, journalist Rolly, who became a professional media practitioner in Metro Manila sometime in the early 50s, decided to come back to his home province of Negros Occidental and spent the best years of his life and journalism career with us, provincial and community media practitioners.

While many of his young colleagues have spent years gaining experiences in the provincial press before going to the big city, Rolly did the reverse for the love of his province where he was born in Escalante, Negros Occidental on August 23, 1933. The call of duty has prompted Rolly Espina to leave Metro Manila for his province despite his very succesful stint and high positions in pre-Martial Law Manila Chronicle and many other Metropolitan dailies, including local and international wire agencies.

He even accepted the position of Executive Assistant of the late governor Alfredo Montelibano, Jr. during the critical years of Martial Law and was doing his challenging task as “Little Governor” of Negros Occidental when the late governor was quite occupied with many other responsibilities as provincial executive.

On top of all, Rolly Espina was always concerned of his fellow journalists, especially in terms of respect for their human rights, responsible and vigilant journalism, press freedom and being fearless advocates for democratic principles. Above all, the legacy that Rolly Espina has exemplified in his lifetime was his firm commitment to uphold the living standards of his peers in the media profession, adherence to the rule of law, fearless and uncompromising in standing up in defense of the oppressed, and that justice must always prevail, no man should be above the law and God’s justice shall always prevail in the end.

God speed, my friend and mentor in the field of responsible journalism. You are truly the newsmen’s Newsman forever.

We will always treasure your valuable memories and example that will guide us in our unending search for the truth, fairness and courage in denouncing the inept, the corrupt and the dregs of our society.

We join his loving family, relatives, friends and associates, including his fellow civic leaders, the Bacolod Capitol Lions Club where he was charter president in mourning his passing away to return to the bosom of his Creator, a man of God and firm believer in our Almighty Lord in his entire life in the seminary and thereafter. He was truly a man of peace, brotherhood and love for fellowmen. God speed, Rolly Espina! Your legacy as model for today’s generation of enlightened journalists will forever shine like a beacon light in the midst of the turmoils and confusions that often produce misguided elements in our midst adversely affecting the minds of even the most mature and learned among the cream of our crop. Goodbye Rolly. We will never forget you in our hearts and our minds. May you rest in eternal peace.

Pert G. Toga

President/Editor in Chief

Negros Daily Bulletin