The Senate adopted Monday Resolution 1002 expressing its profound sympathy and sincere condolences on the death of Jesusa Purificacion Levi Sonora Poe, more popularly known as Susan Roces, mother of Senator Grace Poe.
Senator Poe said the “Queen of Philippine Cinema” died in the United States on March 20. She was 80.
In his speech at the resumption of the Senate session, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Roces—the wife of the late movie icon and National Artist Fernando Poe Jr.—should be honored as an inspiration to a lot of Filipinos, and a treasure to the Philippine movie industry.
“Today we honor the life of a movie icon, a true Filipina, a national treasure. However, it has been said that the best speech delivered on occasions like this do not emanate from the speakers, but from the deed or the legacy of the person being honored,” said Sotto, who sponsored the Senate Resolution.
In the House of Representatives, ACT-CIS Rep. Jocelyn Tulfo filed a resolution urging the chamber “to unanimously nominate the late Susan Roces to posthumously join the Order of National Artists.”
Tulfo’s House Resolution 2584 expresses “the deep sense of appreciation of the House of Representatives for the immense contribution of Susan Roces to Philippine arts and culture and the development of the entertainment industry.”
“Susan Roces is regarded as the Queen of Philippine Movies having starred in more than 130 films, reigning alongside her husband the ‘King of Philippine Movies’ National Artist Fernando Poe, Jr.,” Tulfo, vice chair for the House committees on overseas workers affairs, and on sustainable development goals, said in the resolution.
The resolution also enumerated the awards Roces received from the Film Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (FAMAS), including among others, the 1978 FAMAS Award for Best Actress for “Maligno” and the 1979 FAMAS Award for Best Actress for “Gumising Ka… Maruja”; the 2017 FAMAS Lifetime Achievement Award; the 2003 Film Academy of the Philippines Lifetime Achievement Award; and the 2009 Cinema One Legend Award.
Tulfo also cited the nominations for best actress Susan Roces received from FAMAS.
Roces was nominated in 1966 for “Ana-Roberta”; 1969 for “To Susan with Love”; 1971 for “Divina Gracia”; 1973 for “Bilangguang Puso”; 1974 for “Hanggang sa Kabila ng Daigdig: The Tony Marquez Story”; 1975 for “Patayin Sa Sindak Si Barbara”; 1987 for “Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan Kita”; 1988 for “Paano Kung Wala Ka Na?”; 1990 for “Ang Lahat Ng Ito Pati Na Ang Langit”; and 1998 for “Isinakdal Ko Ang Aking Ina.”
Sotto said it was appropriate to describe Roces as the Queen of Philippine movies for receiving multiple awards during her entire 70-year career in show business.
“In show business like politics, true and good friends are hard to come by. Thus, my wife Helen and I are so fortunate to be friends with Ronnie and Susan and her death is such sad news for our family,” Sotto added.
Resolution co-sponsor Senator Ralph Recto attested to Roces’ kindness and dignity toward the people she had worked with.
“A colleague has lost her mother, the people an icon, and the nation is all the poorer for it,” Recto said in his privilege speech.
For his part, Senator Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said he did not know until recently that Roces, coming from Bacolod City, was his “kasimanwa” (Visayan term for hailing from the same town)—saying his family originally came from Negros Occidental, the province where Bacolod City is.
“I had a conversation yesterday with Mayor Alby Benitez and since I am helping him build the Bacolod City Hospital, we were thinking of naming a wing after Tita Susan Roces and that would be a fitting tribute to her ‘kababayans’ in Bacolod City,” he said.
Senators Joel Villanueva and Ramon Revilla Jr. also made their manifestations, taking into consideration similar SRNs 1003, 1004, and 1005 and making all Senate members as co-sponsors and co-authors of the resolution, except for Poe.
In her manifestation, Poe appreciated the solidarity and support of her colleagues saying it was comforting to be surrounded by friends during her mother’s wake.
“And also, to finish my work which my mom would always encourage me no matter what, to finish what I started,” she said.