'With popularity comes responsibility,' says Grace Poe on FPJ's 80th birthday

MANILA, Philippines – Friends and family of late actor Fernando Poe Jr gathered at the Manila North Cemetery on Tuesday, August 20, to mark the 80th birth anniversary of the popular Filipino actor.

Senator Grace Poe and her mother Susan Roces led the commermoration rites, where they lit candles and offered prayers at the actor's tomb.

At the sidelines of the event, Poe was asked by reporters what would be FPJ's message to the FIlipinos on his birthday if he was still alive.

"Kung nabubuhay ngayon si FPJ, sa tingin ko ang sasabihin pa din niya ay, 'Huwag nating kalimutan ang pagmamahal sa bayan; pagmamahal sa kapwa at pagiging isang mabuting haligi ng tahanan,'" Poe said.

(If FPJ was still alive, I think he would say that, 'Don't forget to love our nation, love our countrymen, and be a good pillar of homes.')

The senator added that the late actor would underscore the importance of setting a good example, especially the public figures who could use their popularity to weild influence.

"Pagiging isang ehemplo na maganda lalung-lalo na kung ikaw ay isang popular na indibidwal, kasi malaking responsibilidad 'yun. Hindi maganda na popular ka lang pero popular ka sa mga bagay na hindi dapat sundin ng ating mga kababayan dahil hindi makakabuti sa kanila," Poe said.

(Be a good example especially if you are a popular individual, because it comes with a big responsibility. It doesn't look good that you are popular but only on those matters that our countrymen shouldn't follow because it's not good for them.)

Even if it has been 15 years since FPJ died, Poe said that she still misses her father.

Poe told reporters she would continue the advocacies of her father through her legislative work, particularly those involving helping disadvantaged communities.

On Tuesday, the family of FPJ distributed grocery packs and toys to some 200 indigent families.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and hit show FPJ's Ang Probinsyano actor Coco Martin attended the event as well.

Born as Ronald Allan Kelley Poe, but known as FPJ to fans, is best remembered for his long career in the entertainment industry. He was hailed at the "King of Philippine Movies," earning several awards.

FPJ ran for president in the 2004 presidential elections but lost to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the results of which had been contested.

He died in December 2004 after suffering from a stroke which led to a coma. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.