“Like many journalists, he was materially poor. But in his devotion to the profession and our people he was, as Danny Fabella sang, hindi pangkaraniwang tao.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — Journalist and former chairperson of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines Nonoy Espina has passed on.
His sister and journalist Inday Espina-Varona confirmed the news in a Facebook post, saying he passed peacefully, quietly, and surrounded by family at 9:20 p.m. today, July 7.
Nonoy, 59, died due to liver cancer.
“A few days ago, Nonoy was able to enjoy sitting in front of the organ, to hear family make some music. That music was something he looked forward to,” Espina-Varona said.
Nonoy, who has just turned over the leadership of the NUJP early this year, wrote for both alternative and dominant media. He later served as editor of the online news Inquirer.net and Interaksyon.
“A man of many talents, he drew, he danced, he composed, played the piano and sang, mostly jazz and blues, in a distinct gravelly voice,” Espina-Varona said, “He wore many hats but he was first and foremost a journalist.”
Nonoy led various campaigns and struggles on press freedom.
Under the Duterte administration, he campaigned against the heightened attacks on the independent press.
Espina-Varona said, ‘like many journalists, he was materially poor. But in his devotion to the profession and our people he was, as Danny Fabella sang, hindi pangkaraniwang tao (extraordinary person).”
In a statement, the NUJP paid tribute to its former chairperson. “He was a press freedom hero worthy of admiration and emulation. From the Marcos dictatorship until the Duterte administration, he consistently served the Filipino people by upholding the truth,” the group said.
Nonoy was editor of Pagbutlak, the official student publication of UP Visayas in Iloilo City. He later wrote for community media group Correspondents, Broadcasters and Reporters Association—Action News Service, or COBRA-ANS, which was part of the “mosquito press” during the Marcos dictatorship.