Defending Sen. Grace Poe

By: Malou Guanzon Apalisok February 17,2016 - 09:56 PM

Jesusa Purificacion Sonora better known as Susan Roces and foster parent of Senator and candidate for president, Grace Llamanzares Poe is going around with her adopted daughter in Western Visayas to trace the Sonora roots in Bacolod City and Iloilo.  The widow of the late action star Fernando Poe, Jr. also took advantage of the campaign sortie to confront the decades-old rumor that Grace Poe is the love child of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and Rosemarie Sonora, younger sister of Ms. Roces. The Sonora sisters were movie queens many decades ago, but it is Susan Roces who is considered the biggest star during the ‘60s and ‘70s.

The rumor of the Marcos–Sonora affair has been around for many decades. It erupted in the late ‘60s when Rosemarie Sonora left for the US at the height of her own popularity.  After sometime, Rosemarie married the late actor Ricky Belmonte with whom she bore two children, Sheryl and Renzo Cruz. Reports say the 68-year-old younger sister of Susan Roces is residing in California with her American husband.

The disqualification cases filed against Senator Poe are based on her failure to provide proof that her biological parents are Filipinos, which suggests that she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen, a requirement of presidential candidates under the 1987 Constitution. The DQ cases are hanging over Senator Poe like the sword of Damocles and no matter how much her camp tries to downplay the issue, the rumor gains more traction. Meanwhile, her credibility and popularity are being eroded by the day if we are to base this perception on popularity surveys.  I think the issue has so taken a physical and psychological toll on the lady presidentiable that she had to take Susan Roces with her to the campaign trail and confront the issue.

In Iloilo City early this week, Ms. Roces’ take on the issue was a simple denial. What I don’t understand is why she is unable to get her sister Rosemarie to come to the Philippines and clear the air once and for all.

This issue has hounded Sen. Poe even before she became a politician and this could be the reason why she chose to study and live in the US. Now that the issue is standing in the way of her getting elected to the highest position of the land, can’t Rosemarie, out of pity and compassion for her supposed foster niece come home to defend Sen. Grace Poe, at the same time clear her own name, that is, if the rumors are really untrue?

Syaro naman sab, dili sya maluoy ni Grace?

* * *

Words are not enough to express the euphoria that Filipinos in general and Cebuanos in particular feel after the historic and successful hosting of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), such that the Cebu Archdiocese maybe considering plans to build on the success of the international gathering and translate them into specific and beneficial programs that the community can continue to participate.

This would be a very important step in the right direction because communitarian spirit, that is, caring for the person next to you, the community and the environment permeated the catecheses and testimonies shared during the IEC days.  It would be a pity if Church officials just close this particular chapter of the Filipinos’ journey of faith.

Euphoria and the “can-do” spirit are very evident in my conversations with fellow volunteers and strategic partners of the Archdiocese, like Mr. Nonito “Tatay Dodong” Limchua, chairman of the board of the Catholic TV Network CCTN, the official local TV station of the 51st IEC.

Tatay Dodong who leads the Oasis of Love Community told this corner that he is intensifying Life in the Spirit Seminars (LSS) in order to highlight the importance of the Eucharist in the life of the Catholic Christian.

Tatay Dodong is an indefatigable and charismatic leader who conducts LSS programs throughout the Visayas and Mindanao.  After the 51st IEC, he brought his community to Cabalian, Southern Leyte. Next week they’ll be heading to Surigao City in Surigao del Norte and immerse with the faithful for days.

The mission is daunting and entails plenty of mobilization. All expenses are shouldered by Tatay Dodong who brings with him a team of at least 5 or 7 people to help organize seminars, masses and healing sessions in coordination with local parish priests.

In the process, Limchua leaves his business behind but it’s amazing to see his humble television station and cable company remain in the black considering they are up against giant players in the industry.  For Tatay Dodong, it’s all a question of putting God’s work first before one’s own and allowing His powers to work wonders.

By the way, Tatay Dodong has received an invitation to visit Canada in June this year to touch base with a big Filipino community in the Archdiocese of Vancouver led by Archbishop J. Michael Miller. Archbishop Miller was struck by Tatay Dodong’s powerful life story and the former wants it shared with parishioners in Vancouver, especially by Filipinos who live and work there.

Tatay Dodong told me Archbishop Miller was overwhelmed by the active participation of the Filipino faithful during the IEC days and wondered why Filipinos in Canada are not as fervent and active in doing Church activities, unlike their local counterparts here. The Vancouver prelate was particularly impressed by the turnout of the mass in Capitol followed by the foot procession and the concluding IEC activity, Statio Orbis.

I guess Archbishop Miller wants Filipinos to be vanguards of the faith in that part of North America where many Catholics are falling away from the faith.

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TAGS: Cebu, election, Grace Poe, IEC, politics

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