For FPJ and Grace Poe, Susan Roces Turned Into a Fighter

The other side of 'The Face That Refreshes'.
Photo/s: Joel Nito, Agence France-Presse

Before her death, Philippine movie legend Susan Roces was the kind, comforting Lola Flora to millions who watched the TV adaptation of her late husband's incorruptible cop character, "Ang Probinsyano",  true to the her silver screen persona that spanned over half a century.

However, when it comes to standing up for husband Fernando Poe Jr. or FPJ and their only daughter, Sen. Grace Poe, Filipino cinema's "The Face That Refreshes" transforms into a fighter.

"Remember her in her beauty, warmth and kindness," Sen. Poe said late Friday, announcing her mother's death.  "We will miss her sorely but we celebrate a life well lived. Susan Roces — daughter, mother, grandmother, a true Filipina and a national treasure."

Susan for Grace

FILE PHOTO: Philippine senator Grace Poe, 46, waves to her supporters as she declares her presidential candidacy in Manila on September 16, 2015. Jay Directo, Agence France-Presse
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National elections in the Philippines have put the Poe family at the forefront because of their superstar status in a country where the boundaries between politics and showbiz are blurred.

In 2016, Grace Poe was running for president after just three years as senator, then her first time to serve in an elected position. 

Grace Poe was the surprise topnotcher of the 2013 senatorial elections and was leading in pre-election surveys until a few weeks before the vote when then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte snatched the lead and went on to win.

The senator's critics raised the fact that she is adopted, a fact that FPJ and Susan Roces never denied and were never ashamed of.

"Never ko siyang tinawag na adopted. Never ko siyang tinawag na ampon. Lalong never never ko siyang tinawag na pulot. How dare they use that word. Grace is our daughter," Roces told reporters during the campaign, speaking out for her daughter.

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As an infant, Poe was abandoned on the steps of the Jaro Cathedral in Iloilo and was later turned over to FPJ and Roces.

Susan for FPJ

FILE: Susan Roces (R), widow of defeated presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr, gestures as she and former Philippine president Corazon Aquino (L) make their way through a crowd of anti-riot police and protesters as they enter the Philippine Congress in Manila, Sept. 6, 2005. Joel Nito, Agence France-Presse
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Roces spoke out in mid-2005 when purported wiretaps of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's phone calls with former Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcillano that, according to government critics, showed how she cheated to defeat FPJ in the 2004 vote.

The "King of Philippine Movies" died of a stroke in December 2004, effectively stalling efforts to move his election protest against Arroyo forward.

"Ang sinungaling ay kapatid ng magnanakaw," Roces said in a press conference at the Club Filipino.

"Mrs Arroyo, habang pinagmamasdan kita sa inyong paghingi ng paumanhin sa amin, sa taumbayan. Kitang-kita ko sa iyong mga mata. Hindi nanggagaling sa iyong puso ang iyong paghihingi ng sorry," she said.

"Hindi ko matatanggap ang iyong sorry. The gravest thing that you have done is you have stolen the presidency. Not once. But twice," she said.

Arroyo has denied wrongdoing and was eventually cleared of electoral sabotage and plunder charges.

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