By Erma Edera
Family, close friends, and supporters of the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) gathered for his 80th birth anniversary on Tuesday morning.
A mass was celebrated in honor of “the king of Philippine movies” led by his daughter Senator Grace Poe and widow veteran actress Susan Roces at the family mausoleum in the Manila North Cemetery.
The senator said that if her father was alive today, he would still be helping the poorest of the poor.
“Siguro kung siya nandito alam ko uunahin niya talaga yung pinakanangangailangan. Simple ang kanyang pagkatao pero kung may nangangailangan ng tulong sa pagpapagamot, sa pagpapa-aral, sa pagkain, hindi niya yun natatanggihan,” she said.
Poe admitted that she still misses her father, who died on December 14, 2004 after suffering a stroke. He was 65 years old.
“I miss him (FPJ) pero dahil patuloy naman natin ginagawa yung mga bagay na sa tingin natin ay mabubuhay ang kaniyang alaala, hindi na ako ganun kalungkot,” Poe said.
“Kakaiba kasi 15 taon na din (nang mamatay si FPJ) pero hindi pa din natitinag ang mga taga suporta,” she added.
Poe said that her foundation in life was the good reputation of her father and mother.
“Ako ay talagang nagpapasalamat sa magandang reputasyon ng aking tatay at nanay. Yun naman talaga ang puhunan ko. Pero gaya ng ibang puhunan, yan ay iniingatan at pinalalago kaya hindi ako puwedeng doon lang nakasandal,” she said.
After the mass, they also gave away groceries and toys to some 200 indigent families.
Cast members of ABS CBN’s Ang Probinsyano, a TV remake of FPJ’s blockbuster movie series, also graced the occasion.
On the other hand, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno served as a surprise guest during the 80th birthday celebration of his godfather. He was part of Sen. Poe’s senate slate during the 2016 elections.
“Kahit na siya ay malaking superstar, hindi siya nakakalimot. Ngayon pinapaalala niya sa atin, through sa kaniyang anak na si Grace Poe, na ituloy natin na mahalin ang ating mga kababayan lalo na ang mga maliliit”, Moreno said.
“Patuloy nating panoorin ang mga pelikula ni FPJ kung saan itinuturo niya satin paano magtanggol ng naaapi, paano magmahal. Si FPJ, sumabak sa matinding pagsubok sa buhay pero nairaos niya ang sarili niya at ang pamilya niya,” he added.
National Artist for Film Ronald Allan Poe, more popularly known as Fernando Poe Jr. was born in 1939 in Manila.
The “King of Philippine Cinema” was known for his roles in iconic films including the “Panday” series, which made him a legend in the local film industry.
On July 20, 2012, President Aquino signed Proclamation No. 435 confirming his posthumous declaration as a National Artist as conferred in Proclamation No. 1069 dated May 23, 2006.