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Jesus Marino "Rene" Gandiongco Espina[3] (December 26, 1929 – September 13, 2019[4]) was a Filipino lawyer, legislator, and politician. He served as Governor of the province of Cebu, Philippines (1963–1969) and Senator (1970–1973).

Jesus Marino "Rene" Gandiongco Espina[1]
Governor of Cebu
In office
December 30, 1963 – June 30, 1968
Preceded byFrancisco Remotigue
Succeeded byOsmundo G. Rama
Secretary of the Public Works, Transportation, and Communication
In office
September 1, 1968 – September 24, 1969
PresidentFerdinand Marcos
Senator of the Philippines
In office
December 30, 1969 – September 23, 1972
Personal details
Born26 December 1929
Tinago, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippine Islands
Died13 September 2019 (aged 89)[2]
Cebu City, Cebu
Political party
Alma materUniversity of Southern Philippines

Early lifeEdit

Rene Espina was born to Rafael Espina and Tarcela Gandiongco in Cebu City, Cebu on 26 December 1929. He earned his law degree from the University of Southern Philippines and was one of the top passers from the bar exams when he became lawyer on 22 January 1955. The family's old house was located along Gervasio Lavilles Street, Cebu City. His marriage to Rufinita de Leon Remollo from Negros Oriental bore three children, including Rene Mari, Jean Franco, and Cebu City councilor Erik Miguel Espina,[5] who was appointed by Rodrigo Duterte to replace dismissed councilor James Anthony Cuenco.[6]


Espina was appointed Social Security System chair by then President Diosdado Macapagal[7][8] from 1962 to 1963.[9]

Governor of CebuEdit

He received the endorsement of Macapagal as the official candidate for governor of the Liberal Party on 9 September 1963.[10][11] On 12 November 1963, he defeated incumbent governor Francisco "Kikoy" Remotigue of the Nacionalista Party by over 73,000 votes and was elected Governor of Cebu. Priscillano Almendras was voted Vice Governor and the members of the Provincial Board were Nazario Pacquiao, Salutario Fernandez and Isidro Escario. Espina switched to Nacionalista Party during his campaign for reelection as governor in 1967, and won over Priscillano Almendras of the Liberal Party.[11]

Cabinet memberEdit

Then President Ferdinand Marcos appointed him as Secretary of the Public Works, Transportation, and Communication on November 1968, serving as both governor and member of the Cabinet. It was during this time that the plans for the Mactan Bridge were initiated,[12] and Espina oversaw the completion of its construction when he became part of the advisers of Marcos after Congress was dissolved on the establishment of martial law in the country in 1972.[13]


He resigned from the Cabinet post to run for the Senate under the Nacionalista Party in September 1969, and he was succeeded by Antonio Syquio. On 11 November 1969,[12] he was voted Senator of the 7th Congress and served from 1970 to 1973.[14] He crafted the country's first anti-drug law, Republic Act 6425 otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972.[11][15]

During the 1978 election for the Iinterim Batasang Pambansa, he was one of the 13 candidates together with Eduardo Gullas, Ramon Durano III, Tito Calderon, Emilio Osmeña and Antonio Cuenco for the Marcos-backed political party Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) to represent Region VII.[16] However, none of them were elected and instead, all 13 candidates from the local political party, Pusyon Bisaya that included Natalio Bacalso and which received widespread support, were voted to represent all seats for the region.[17]

Later yearsEdit

Espina was a columnist for Manila Bulletin.[18]

On 11 April 2019, 110 farmers were installed as agrarian reform beneficiaries by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on the 150-hectare land owned by Espina in Polo, Tanjay City, Negros Oriental.[19]


Governor Espina died on September 13, 2019 at a private hospital in Cebu City due to an untreated infection brought about by dialysis. He was already undergoing dialysis 3-times a week due to his previous untreated Pneumonia, which affected his kidneys. He was 89 years of age.[20]


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  5. ^ Oaminal, Clarence Paul (8 April 2019). "Senator/Governor Rene G. Espina, the Veloso/Gandiongco bloodline | The Freeman". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  6. ^ Erram, Morexette (9 July 2018). "Espina takes oath as Cebu City's councilor". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  7. ^ Lindio, Lope (2015). Father & Son: Overlapping Ordinary Lives on the Sidelines of Extra-Ordinary Times 20Th Century. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 9781503544673.
  8. ^ "Official Week in Review: April 22 – April 28, 1962 | GOVPH". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  9. ^ "SSS Guidebook: 2010 Web Site Edition" (PDF). Social Security System. 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  10. ^ Simbulan, Dante C. (2005). The modern principalia : the historical evolution of the Philippine ruling oligarchy. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press. ISBN 9715424961. OCLC 68569060.
  11. ^ a b c Oaminal, Clarence Paul (30 January 2017). "Atty. Rene G. Espina and his road to Governorship of Cebu (Part II) | The Freeman". The Philippine Star. Philippine Star; The Freeman. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  12. ^ a b Oaminal, Clarence Paul (11 April 2014). "Rene Espina, governor, senator and builder of the Mactan Bridge". The Freeman through Pressreader. Retrieved 9 May 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |website= (help)
  13. ^ Oaminal, Clarence Paul (13 January 2017). "Father of the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge (Part 2)". Philippine Star; The Freeman through Pressreader. Retrieved 9 May 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |website= (help)
  14. ^ "List of Previous Senators". Senate of the Philippines.
  15. ^ "R.A. 6425". Retrieved 9 May 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |website= (help)
  16. ^ An anarchy of families : state and family in the Philippines. McCoy, Alfred W. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press. 2009. ISBN 9780299229849. OCLC 223848773.CS1 maint: others (link)
  17. ^ Cabautan, Richale. "Anti-Bongbong concert organizers: 'Cebu is anti-Marcos'". Rappler. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Posts Tagged 'Atty. Rene Espina'". Manila Bulletin News. Manila Bulletin News. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  19. ^ Araja, Rio (11 April 2019). "DAR installs more farmers". Manila Standard. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  20. ^