JESUS Marino “Rene” G. Espina, a former senator who authored the first anti-drug law in the Philippines, has passed away. He was 89.

“The palace expresses its deep sympathy to the family, friends, colleagues and supporters of former Senator Rene Espina,” presidential spokesman Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement on Sunday.

“Senator Espina was credited for having crafted the country’s first anti-drug law, Republic Act No. 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 — the precursor of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,” he added.

“Rest in peace, Senator Espina. You served your country well,” according to a Facebook post by the Salvador H. Laurel Museum and Library.

Mr. Espina was also a governor of Cebu for six years through 1969 and a member of the United Nationalist Democratic Organization.

He died of dialysis infections at a private hospital in Cebu City on Friday, according to a report by The Freeman.

He Mr. Espina was married to Rufinita de Leon Remollo, with whom he had three children.

Before being elected to the Senate, the lawmaker served as governor of Cebu and secretary of the Public Works, Transportation and Communication Ministry during the Marcos regime, Mr. Panelo said.

“At 33, he became the youngest ever administrator of the Social Security Services during the Macapagal administration,” he added. — Arjay L. Balinbin