NDFP condoles with the family of Ka Nonoy Espina and extols his record as fighter for press freedom

International Information Office | National Democratic Front of the Philippines, July 08, 2021

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines Negotiating Panel condoles with the family, colleagues and friends of Jose Jaime “Nonoy” Llavore Espina who passed away tonight, July 7, of liver cancer.

We salute Nonoy Espina as the foremost press freedom defender of our time. As chairperson of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines from 2018 to March of this year, he led the struggle to defend freedom of the press and expression against the evil Rodrigo Duterte regime. He defended ABS-CBN, Rappler, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Altermidya member outfits and all media organizations from unceasing State-led attacks.

As NUJP national director for many terms, Southeast Asia Journalists Union founding member and DART Foundation worker, Nonoy defended his fellow journalists from all forms of injustices, criminal libel, malicious trolling, unjust wages, inhumane working conditions as well as trauma suffered from dangers posed by their work. He was a worthy successor to NUJP founder Antonio Ma. Nieva and other brave union chairpersons such as his younger sister Inday Espina Varona.

Nonoy was among the very first who rushed to the Ampatuan Massacre site to look for his 33 missing colleagues. For a full decade, he was at the forefront of the struggle for justice that culminated in his very presence inside the jail facility as the guilty verdict was meted against several of the suspects. Nonoy was among the NUJP leaders who managed scholarship grants to children of many of the massacre victims. These beneficiaries have lost their Tito Nonoy tonight.

We watched in awe as Nonoy led his fellow NUJP members in a march around the ABS-CBN Compound last year as thousands gathered to call for the network’s franchise renewal. It may very well be that biggest protest action in defense of a media outfit and press freedom in our country’s history.

Nonoy was an excellent journalist and writer. He did not only write accurately and with polish, he was also among the fastest a reporting to the people. Most remarkable for us was the uncompromisingly pro-people line he consistently took. Indeed, as one of his colleagues wrote, Nonoy was most deserving of both the College Editors Guild of the Philippines’ MH del Pilar Award he received in 2019 and of his Graciano Lopez Jaena lineage. May we add that the MH del Pilar Award gained more prestige with him as its latest awardee.

An explosion of grief among journalists and patriotic Filipinos nationwide greeted the announcement of Nonoy’s passing Wednesday night. The same loss is sure to be felt by his many colleagues and friends in communities of independent journalists worldwide.

We share in their grief. And we turn the inspiring example of Ka Nonoy into strength and courage to advance the Filipino people’s struggle for national liberation and democracy.

Issued by the National Council
of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines