Rufino, Ernesto D. Sr.
HS 1925, AA 1927; DLSAA President (1952 - 1954)
DLSAA Distinguished Lasallian Awardee
ERNESTO RUFINO (HS '25, AA '27) is the school's "handy man", for the Brothers have often turned to him for help in the past 50 years and he has always been glad to oblige. Yet, when he first entered La Salle on Nozaleda Street in 1916, as a third grade transferee from San Beda College, he begged with tears in his eyes for his father to return him to the Benedictine school, mainly because his teacher, Brother Xavier, had rapped the palm of his hand with a ruler for some minor infraction. But his elder brother, Vicente (HS '22) was already studying there, and so Ernie continued at La Salle until he graduated with an Associate in Arts degree in 1927 to enter the Philippine Law School. After passing the bar exams, he first worked with the family firm, Luzon Theaters, a distributor of movies and owner of numerous cinema houses scattered in the urban centers of the country. The wealthy Rufino family joined the Cojuangcos and Jacintos in establishing the Philippine Bank of Commerce in 1938. The bank was managed by the late Miguel Cuaderno and Alfonso Calalang who both became governors of the Central Bank several years later. When the three families could not agree on policy matters, the Rufinos opened Security Bank after the war, with Ernie as vice-president. Meanwhile, he had become a reserve officer in the army and served in Bataan as a captain under General Vicente Lim of the 41st Division. "I thought I would not come out alive from that war," he reminisced. But he did and got a Silver Star for gallantry in action when he led a convoy of five officers, 40 men and five trucks through the Japanese lines from Bataan to Fort Stotsenberg in Pampanga to scrounge for food from the American warehouses — food that was vital for the defense put up by his division against the enemy. He was in the group of four Filipino officers who lobbied successfully in Washington, D.C. for the passage of the Missing Persons Act that benefited thousands of fellow war veterans. For his many contributions to the Catholic Church, he was made a Knight of Malta, and a member of the Papal Order of St. Gregory. And for his lifetime devotion to La Salle, he was honored with the title of Affiliate of the Brothers of the Christian Schools in 1975.