MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe, daughter of the late veteran actress Susan Roces, shared the “symbolic” last talk she had with her mother before passing away — about the signing of the Foundling Recognition and Protection Act.
Poe is the adopted daughter of Roces and late actor Fernando Poe Jr.
“Kasi ganito ‘yun, bago siya dalhin sa ospital, nag-uusap pa kami, nag-uusap pa sila ng mga kaibigan niya. Mga bandang tanghali, nabalitaan namin ‘yung batas ukol sa pagkilala sa mga nadampot na bata o foundlings ay naisabatas na, napirmahan na,” Poe recalls in an ambush interview at the Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City on Saturday.
(Before she was brought to the hospital, we were talking and she was talking with her friends. By noon, we learned that the law recognizing foundlings has been signed into law.)
“So excited ako nu’n, tinawagan ko siya, tapos sabi pa niya sa akin, ‘Congratulations,’ kasi imagine, ipinaglaban niya ‘yan para sa akin matagal na, na magkaroon ng patas na karapatan ang mga batang naabandona. Tapos sabi ko, ‘Ma, not congratulations to me alone, congratulations to you because if not for you and for this advocacy that you fought for, hindi ito magiging ganito. Hindi ako magiging nasa ganitong pagkakataon sa buhay’,” she went on.
(I was excited, I called her, and she told me “Congratulations,” because imagine, she fought for that long ago, to have equal rights for abandoned children. Then I said, “Ma, not congratulations to me alone, congratulations to you because if not for you and for this advocacy that you fought for, it will not be like this. I will not be in this situation.)
In 2015, Roces lashed out at Poe’s critics as they tried to block her bid to become president, saying she could not be presumed a natural-born Filipino which is a requirement for running for president.
After that call, something changed in Roces, said Poe.
“So masaya siya, tapos alam mo, pagkatapos nu’n, parang naiba na. ‘Yun na ang huling pag-uusap namin kaya napaka-symbolic nga, parang inintay nya, pero pagkatapos nu’n, nu’ng dinala na namin siya sa ospital, parang wala sa sarili, tapos nagko-complain siya na may pain siya,” she narrated.
(So, she was happy, after that something changed. That was our last talk, so, it is very symbolic, it’s like she waited for it but after that, when we brought her to the hospital, she lost herself and complained of pain.)
Poe also recounted having shorter talks with her mother in the past two weeks before her demise.
The senator and Roces talked for an average of one to one and a half hours every other day to almost everyday.
But in the last two weeks, they talked for only 10 minutes and Poe noticed that her mother was already feeling exhausted.
Roces passed away on May 20 due to cardiopulmonary arrest. She was 80.
The wake of the “Queen of Philippine Movies” will be open to the public from May 22 to 24, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., at the Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City.