Dec 11
THE POE LEGACY by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Tue, Dec 11, 2012

Ronald Allan Poe, popularly known as FPJ, used Fernando Poe, Jr. for his screen name. His peers call him Ronnie while showbiz people refer to him as Manager. But the public in general knows him as Da King.

Aside from being a multi-awarded actor, FPJ was also a director and a scriptwriter, a producer with good business acumen and a racehorse owner. Lastly, he was a charismatic politician who ran for the presidency.

Amid the monikers, occupations and positions, one thing stands out for FPJ – his generosity.

Tonton, the driver of Jesse Ejercito, was witness to FPJ’s charitable heart. The drivers in the sidelines, during gatherings, didn’t escape FPJ’s notice. FPJ would call one driver for a very brief interview.

And always, the lucky driver would be handed a thousand pesos and sometimes more. A thousand pesos was good money during that time. “Para ka ngang nanalo sa raffle,” Tonton quipped with a smile.

Aside from the food and drinks, FPJ also had ready envelopes for the movie industry people. “Kaya enjoy kami pag may happening sa FPJ studio,” said assistant director Dan Riel. The envelope meant money and money meant a thousand pesos at the least.

The late Berting Labra, who was in jail for more than 10 years, wished that FPJ had won the presidential race. “Tunay ang pagtulong niya sa tao.” He was referring to FPJ’s financial support which came regularly while Labra was in jail for more than 10 years.

In one of their location shootings, the late director Boots Plata intimated, “May lumapit na dalagita. Sandali lang silang nagbulungan ni Ronnie.” Little did they know that FPJ had sponsored an artesian well for the community.

Director Pablo Vergara in the foreground. Others in photo are Production Designer Vic Villavicencio, Director Jun Posadas, Cinematographer Isagani Sioson, Cinematographer Oscar Querijero

Film and Musical Director Pablo Vergara has all praises for FPJ. “Tahimik lang siya sa shooting. Pag may gustong ipabago sa atake, ibubulong niya sa director,” to spare the director of little embarrassments.

And, of course, “Pagdating sa budget, walang problema kay FPJ,” Vergara claimed. He has directed FPJ in 3 movies, mostly with the title of his compositions like Mahal, Saan Ka Nanggaling Kagabi which had FPJ and Susan Roces in the lead roles.

“Si FPJ lang siguro ang puwedeng mag-angat sa industriya,” Vergara lamented and still regrets that FPJ didn’t become president. Like many others, Vergara also thinks that FPJ, with his legendary generosity, would have been a very good president for the country.

In a recent gathering, Manny Buising shared his close encounter with FPJ. That the man didn’t want to make fun of disabilities or physical defects. So humor for FPJ should be funny but not discriminatory nor offensive to anyone.

FPJ’s scriptwriter Manny Buising with the author posing by FPJ’s cardboard likeness

And with the crew, “Gusto niya pare-pareho lang. Kung ano ang pagkain niya ay ganun din sa crew,” said Buising, FPJ’s last scriptwriter.

Pablo Gomez, another scriptwriter of FPJ, said, “Kaya sumikat si Ronnie dahil ang mga tao ang nasa isip niya. Never niyang inuna ang sarili, laging yung iba.” Gomez also witnessed FPJ’s handing out money to the people during location shootings.

Musical Scorer Jun Garlan tells with pride that whenever FPJ would see him in gatherings, “manager” would ask him to perform. “Keyboard ang hawak ko. Pag walang kakanta eh di ako na rin ang kakanta.”

Like the usual expectation, Garlan would receive a token for his cooperation. “Minsan nga nakakahiya,” Jun explained that he acceded to FPJ’s request not for the money but only for the enjoyment.

Director William Mayo tells with pride that FPJ not only gives out money but also time. In one interview, FPJ had said that the most valuable thing you can give to your friend is time. And FPJ had given time to his friends and acquaintances.

Director William Mayo and Jeric Raval during a 2012 shooting

“Tatlo kami ni FPJ at ni Jeric Raval,” Director Mayo related. “Nakaupo lang kami sa gutter ng kalye o palakad-lakad habang nagkukuwentuhan.” The bonding lasted until the wee hours of the night. It was a shame that no camera was available to take photographs.

A salient point in that scenario, according to Director Mayo, was when some kids approached them. FPJ handed money to the children who were obviously from the squatter area in Mother Ignacia street.

Poster of Grace Poe explaining her reason for joining politics

In the racetrack, FPJ is a legend larger than life. Kareristas (racing aficionados) were used to seeing FPJ giving out balato to everyone whenever his horse would win. One of his best horses was Graceful Lady, named after her daughter Mary Grace.

Incidentally, Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares or simply Grace Poe had joined politics as a senatorial candidate of 3 coalitions. Her reason for joining – to continue what FPJ had started.

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