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" I CANNOT UNDO WHAT HAS BEEN DONE..." - SUSAN ROCES
Only recently, cinema queen Susan Roces has been accused of being guilty of six sins. Thus when I visited her on the set of her current movie I started by asking her how her relations with the press is. Susan was quick to reply that she is not encountering any problems with the press because she tries to please each and everyone in the best manner that she can as long as she is not busy with her film commitments. "Or even if they visit me on the set I always try to make it a point to entertain them basta hindi ako abala sa harap ng kamera." Pushing her chair nearer to me, she continued, "but there are really very few movie reporters that I know personally."
I brought to her attention the article recently published in a movie magazine which accused her of certain sins. THE SIX SINS OF SUSAN ROCES, was how the article was called.
One of the so-called "Six Sins of Susan according to the article is her never getting angry and I quote: "Have you ever heard of a person who never gets angry or peeved, even if provoked?"
Personally, I think Susan is capable of being peeved and angry only she doesn't show such in full blast. Coming straight from Pepito Rodriguez' mouth, he said that when Susan came to read about an article which headlines her as saying DROP RICKY FOR PEPITO to her younger sister Rosemarie, Susan became mad. As Pepito reiterated to me, a week after he had arrived from Japan: "Susan was quite mad about that write-up. Susan said that she doesn't meddle with her sister's affairs and neither does Rose when it comes to Susan's affairs."
From my own personal encounter with Susan, I know that Susan can be provoked as when during the first time I interviewed her. The news at that time then was so hot that she got married to Ronnie in Bacolod. Susan denied having gotten married and when I repeatedly asked her "what then were you doing in Bacolod", she stoop up and left with an excuse saying that she was needed on the set. If by being mad, the writer wish to imply rudeness or hysterics on the part of doer, then definitely Susan is not capable of it. But being a normal person that she is, Susan can get mad just the same in the sense that she can be annoyed by reporters trying to pay too much into her private life, especially about her true relationship with Ronnie.
Sin number two accuses Susan of poking her nose into every pie, "which is certainly uncalled for, if not altogether un-professional."
"Take that time she allegedly proxied Ronnie Poe at some coronation rites in Bataan' says the article, customs and more dictate that those doing the crowning are usually a pair -- a man and a woman. And in that particular affair, Josephine Estrada was supposed to have been the partner of Ronnie in doing the honors of crowning the queen." To make the accusation brief, Susan is being accused of dipping her finger into every pie. Had the author of the article taken pains to interview the person concerned -- Matimtiman Cruz or Susan Roces herself, he might have come out with a good explanation of what really took place. As one reads the article, one is bound to get the impression that the shallow reasoning he gave were a result of what he heard and nothing else.
To start with, it was Larry Dominguez (movie reporter) who invited Josephine and Ronnie for that coronation rites. "I was also invited by Larry but I told him that I don't think I could make it. Besides, it is more fitting for Ronnie to go, for somehow, he knows them personally. That person in Bataan happens to be a childhood friend of Ronnie. Anyway, Ronnie and I were doing a movie together and in order for him to attend the coronation in Bataan, he made arrangement with the director to shoot his scenes in advance. But then somehow, along the way, something went wrong. The death of director Efren Reyes, a very close friend of Ronnie changed the whole schedule. When the date of the coronation came, Ronnie's scenes had to be shot. Inasmuch as someone had to explain to the people of Bataan what happened, Manding requested me to take the place of Ronnie. But I didn't go there to represent Ronnie in the coronation festivities. I went there to explain in behalf of my co-actor his inability to attend the affair. Andy Poe accompanied me. Honestly, I don't know where they get the idea that I was trying to outshine another. As I have said, I didn't go there with the intention of crowning anyone. Let somebody intended for that do that honor. Why don't you ask Matimtiman Cruz or Pepe Pimentel. They were there."
The article went on accusing Susan of practicing nepotism, of becoming thoroughly modern and not being honest with her age. To such accusations I could only answer with questions: Is Susan to blame if the producer who wanted her to appear in their production would also get the services of brother Joey and sisters Rosemarie and Teresita? If Susan really practices such, she could have easily done that in all the films she has appeared in -- why then settle with seven pictures as mentioned in the article? As for her being thoroughly modern, one must bear in mind that this is the twentieth century where everything, from prices to clothings have greatly changed. What is wrong with Susan wearing a mini if it fits her? Don't tell me the writer would rather see Susan walking in the streets of Manila dressed in a kimona and smoking layebana?
Everything now is in order. The lights, the cameras and the participants. Susan and Ramil were told to sit in the middle of the sala, looking into each other's eyes. It was past midnight already. Time for someone to say goodbye. Having said goodnight to Susan, she said, "O sige, Rem, basta next time, isulat mo ang mga questions, katulad ang dati para I can give you long answers. You know how it is naman when we are shooting. With regards to those accusations, bayaan mo na ang mga iyon. Besides, I cannot undo what has been done. Naiingit lamang siguro sila." The she turned her back to resume her work.
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Published in Movie World Magazine,
Vol. 9, No. 5, 1968
(From the magazine collection/courtesy of Tina AL)