Jaclyn and Coco scenes in Batang Quiapo

The bond between the late actress Jaclyn Jose and this generation’s Primetime King Coco Martin is comparable to that of a family. She was among those who witnessed his rise from a relatively unknown indie actor to a superstar and has remained steadfastly supportive of him throughout the years. It was no surprise when he tapped her to be part of his ongoing series “FPJ’s Batang Quiapo.”

In the story, Jaclyn played Chief Dolores Espinas, the director of the maximum-security prison where Tanggol has been detained. Just in a recent episode leading up to the show’s second year, Chief Espinas was shown in critical condition after being shot by Bong (Vandolph Quizon), one of the inmates. 

We were confident that she would remain a part of the series even with the entrance of new characters, as she has become an essential piece in Tanggol’s journey. Besides, her recent appearance in an episode showed that she regained consciousness after the medical operation. But sadly, it is now impossible to see her back on the show. Jaclyn passed away on the morning of Saturday, March 2nd, due to a heart attack. 

As we pay tribute to her contribution to the industry, especially in the “FPJ’s Batang Quiapo" series where she got to reveal a new facet of her talent, Kapamilya Toplist compiles her scenes with the teleserye's torchbearer, Coco, whom she regarded not only as a co-actor but also as a son she deeply loved and respected. 

The globally-acclaimed actress had an intimidating entrance in the series’ second installment as Chief Espinas, the prison’s ‘lord,’ who applied force and violence in disciplining the inmates. She had the voice and aura that could make anyone tremble, evident when Tanggol bowed down to her as she introduced herself. She mentioned that Tanggol had become quite popular due to the high-profile "clients" who wish to see him dead. 

We knew she would be pivotal in Tanggol’s journey as an inmate, as his life depended solely on her decisions. One command from her, and he would be dead. She initially punished Tanggol to test his boundaries, then turned him into her puppet assigned with kill orders. 

She had big plans for the leader of the “Batang Quiapo” gang upon realizing he’s made of steel and savage fighting skills. Turning Tanggol into a pawn in her much larger game, she gave him his first mission as Bubbles (Ivana Alawi)’s partner in assassinating Congressman Sevilla (Jong Cuenco). She made sure Tanggol understood that it was not a request but an order by using his friends as bait. 

Following that, he got tasked to dismantle the Red Phoenix mafia. Given the scale of this syndicate and to prevent any chance of Tanggol and his friends escaping, Chief Espinas deemed it necessary for her and her men to accompany them. Her presence proved invaluable as she aided Tanggol and Bubbles during the shootout with the cops. 

Whether due to her exploiting Tanggol's skill or because she genuinely harbors compassion within her, Tanggol had obviously become her favorite.

She even designated him as a ‘trustee’ to protect him from the “Batang Divisoria” gang led by Bong. Even her minions noticed that she acts extra lenient towards Tanggol. In one scene, she instructed Bubbles to cater to Tanggol and his group’s needs by giving them all the food they want from the jail store and then paying for all their orders. There were also many instances where she fulfilled Tanggol’s requests, such as releasing his friends from the dungeon or “bartolina.” 

In one of their last scenes together, Chief Espinas displayed notable mercy as she intervened in the conflict between Tanggol, Bong, and Bubbles. After Bubbles clarified that Tanggol only reacted because Bong attempted to exploit her, Chief Espinas reprimanded Tanggol for the altercation. Surprisingly, she let the incident slide without punishment, aware and deep inside sympathizing with Tanggol’s grief over the loss of his first love, Mokang (Lovi Poe). 

Another brilliant star has been taken from us to illuminate the skies even more brightly. As we bid goodbye to Jaclyn, a showbiz gem, we thank her for making our primetime viewing habit extra thrilling. Chief Espinas will forever be etched in our minds and hearts.