‘How dare you call my daughter a foundling’
Susan Roces–the Queen of Philippine Movies–on Tuesday broke her silence and came to her daughter’s defense and directly and emotionally addressed critics who questioned Sen. Grace Poe’s citizenship.
“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! [I never called her adopted. I never called her an orphan. And most especially, I never called her a foundling],” she calmly but firmly rebuked her daughter’s detractors.
The veteran actress made the statement in a news conference that followed after she signed an endorsement contract for a laundry detergent brand. The event was held a day after radio commentator Rizalito David filed a disqualification case against Poe before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for allegedly misrepresenting her qualifications–particularly her citizenship–when she ran for a Senate seat in 2013.
David earlier filed a petition asking the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) to unseat her on similar ground.
Roces, widow of action king Fernando Poe, Jr. who was allegedly cheated of the presidency in the 2004 elections, said the senator was never exposed to name-calling or labels throughout her upbringing.
“Grace is our daughter!” she declared.
Roces even went as far as saying that when Poe was found in a church in Jaro, Iloilo, her umbilical cord was still intact, proving that she was indeed born in the Philippines.
“Kukuwestiyunin pa nila kung citizen siya ng bansang ito?” she asked rhetorically. “Hindi ko alam kung ano ang pamantayan nila [They’re even questioning her citizenship? I don’t know what their basis is].”
She further questioned why Poe’s detractors have conveniently disregarded the fact that she filed her candidacy for senator indicating the real name of her father as Ronald Allan Poe and mother as Jesusa S. Poe.
“Anong karapatan nila na ipawalang-bisa ‘yung ipinaglaban namin sa korte para magkaroon siya ng tunay na birth certificate [Who gave them the power to nullify what we fought for in court that she be given a real birth certificate]?”
Having kept silent about the citizenship issue against the senator all this time, Roces naturally went all out in defending her daughter as any mother would.
“Kahit hayup nasasaktan kapag minamaliit at hindi ginagawan ng tama ang anak [Even an animal gets angry when somebody hurts its offspring],” she said.
Roces turned more emotional when she shared how fortunate she felt to have Poe as their only child.
“Tinuturing kong mapalad ako. Napakapalad ko dahil biniyayaan kami ng anak ng Panginoong Diyos. Salamat at pinagtagpo ang ating landas dahil na ipinangalangin ko sa Diyos na magkaroon ako ng anak [I consider myself blessed. Blessed because the Lord God gave us a child. I’m thankful that our paths crossed because I asked God to give me a child].”
According to the veteran actress, the heavens in fact answered her prayers with every detail she asked for: A baby with eyes that glowed and a head of curly hair.
She admitted feeling hurt over these issues hurled at Poe.
Proud of Poe’s achievements in the political scene, Roces also took the opportunity to declare that she will support her daughter if indeed she finally decides to run for higher office.
“Her voice was always heard at home. Hindi namin siya diniktahan. Hindi namin siya dineprive. Lumaki siya kung paano natin inaasahan na patakbuhin ang gobyernong ito [We never dictated on her. We did not deprive her. She grew up in a manner that we hope she would employ in running the government],” she said.
Roces also addressed Poe’s supposed “lack of experience” in government as a newbie, and instead pointed out the kind of upbringing she has had since her formative years. She believes that one’s principles rather than experience are what a leader needs to serve the people well.
“Ang unang nagtuturo sa iyo niyan ay ang iyong mga magulang [The first to teach you that are your parents]. How you live your life at home. Your daily practices. Your compassion for the less fortunate who are working for you. So kung bibilangin mo ang experience, hindi mo mabibilang sa ganoon lang [So you cannot count your experience but you can your number of years in government],” she said.