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    FORMER senator Jesus Marino “Rene” Espina, the author of the country’s first anti-drug law, Republic Act 6425, or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, passed away on Friday at a private hospital in his home province of Cebu.

    Espina, 89, served in the Senate from 1970 to 1973. Prior to that, he was elected governor of Cebu and served from 1963 to 1969. He also served as a Cabinet member during the administrations of the late presidents Diosdado Macapagal and Ferdinand Marcos.

    Malacañang on Sunday paid its last respects to Espina and extended its condolences to his family and friends.

    Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, concurrent presidential spokesman, said Malacañang is saddened by the death of Espina.

    “The Filipino people are indeed grateful for the long track record of public service that senator Espina gave to the nation. May eternal rest grant to this faithful servant of the Lord, may perpetual light shine upon him, and may his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace,” Panelo said.

    As senator, Espina authored the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, which was the precursor of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

    Espina was appointed administrator of the Social Security System from 1962 to 1963 during the Macapagal administration prior to his stint as governor of Cebu, a post that he held until 1969.

    In November 1968, Marcos appointed him as secretary of the then Department of Public Works, Transportation, and Communication, serving as both governor and member of the Cabinet at the same time. He oversaw the completion of the construction of the Mactan Bridge.

    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 bar exams passers when he became a lawyer in 1955. His son Erik Miguel Espina currently serves as a Cebu City councilor.