Lawyer Francisco Rodrigo Jr. and Actress Boots Anson-Roa
MANILA – Lawyer Francisco “King” Rodrigo Jr. is set to marry 69-year-old veteran actress Boots Anson-Roa on June 14, when he turns 75.
Rodrigo admitted that most people, including his friends, cannot comprehend the idea of tying the knot again at an old age.
He said he has been advised by some people who are close to him to just live with Anson-Roa to make things less complicated.
Despite this, Rodrigo stood by his decision to remarry.
“Sinasabi ng mga kaibigan ko, bakit pa kayo magpapakasal? Magsama na lang, hindi ba? Sa edad niyo marami pang kumplikasyon ‘yan. We have 17 grandchildren between the two of us, so ‘yang relationship na ‘yan, complicated na [raw],” he said in an interview on the radio DZMM show “Sakto,” where he made a guest appearance with Anson-Roa.
“Ang sabi ko naman, ‘pag ako pumapasok sa isang relasyon, that relationship must do good for both partners,” Rodrigo stressed. “So if I am to pursue this relationship of love with Boots without the benefit of marriage, it would not do us good. It might condemn us to hell. Why should I go through that? Mas mainam na ‘yung isaayos para sa mata ng tao, sa mata ng Diyos.”
Three failed attempts
Rodrigo and Anson-Roa, who have known each other for decades, were first set up by their respective friends without their knowledge three-and-a-half years ago.
The “date,” however, did not work out as planned.
“The occasion was the 96th birthday of my mother. Doon kami pagtatagpuin daw. Eh ako nakikipag-inuman ako sa mga kaibigan ko tapos dumating ‘yung kapatid ko, dinadala si Boots papunta sa lamesa. Doon ako binulungan noong isang kapatid ko, sabi mina-match ka namin kay Boots. Eh nabigla naman ako. Pagdating ni Boots, kinamayan ko, tumayo na ako at umalis na ako,” Rodrigo said.
“Hinabol ako ng kapatid ko sabi niya, bakit mo naman binastos si Boots? Sabi ko, hindi ko siya binastos, sa inyo ako galit, bakit hindi niyo sinabi sa akin na ganoon? I told them I’m not prepared for this. And I think I told them that I’m still grieving for my wife. I still love my wife, kakamatay pa lang ng asawa ko.”
Anson-Roa, for her part, said of the incident: “Ako, okay lang, wala… Kasi I didn’t know, hindi ko rin alam ‘yung plano nila. Nalaman ko lang noong nakaalis si King, saka lang nila sinabi sa akin. So sabi ko, bakit ‘di niyo sinabi? Clueless kami pareho.”
The second attempt at setting up the two occurred in January 2013 via a double date with Rodrigo’s friends.
“Noong kumakain kami, sinabi ni Atty. Evangelista, o ligawan mo na si Boots. So ako, oh my God, ganoon… So sinabi ko kay Boots na ‘this time, I cannot focus on you because I have to go to the States and take care of my dying daughter. Pero pagbalik ko, ihanda mo na ‘yung katawan mo at liligawan na kita nang puspusan,’” he said, laughing. “Sabi ko sa waiter, o pagsilbihan mo nang mabuti ‘to at ito ang pakakasalan ko pag-uwi ko.”
Stunned at the time, Anson-Roa recalled: “Sabi ko, aba Speedy Gonzales, masyadong mabilis. Inanunsyo niya talaga, sinabi niya that I will marry you so medyo nakakatuliro at that point. Eh hanggang ngayon natutuliro pa rin naman ako.”
Returning from the US, Rodrigo contacted Anson-Roa and asked her out on a date.
The veteran actress, however, rejected him point blank.
“Tinawagan ko si Boots. True to my word, liligawan ko siya. Sabi ko, ‘Boots, let’s have lunch.’ Binasted ako. Ayaw. Sabi siguro, ‘o matuto ka, loko,’” he said. “[It was a] Complete denial, outright rejection. Walang iisipin o ano, sabi niya, ‘hindi, hindi.’”
Defending her decision, Anson-Roa said: “I was not prepared… At saka meron ding umaali-aligid na friends… Iniisip ko nga, siguro, looking back, natakot din ako kasi first time kaming lumabas nagdeklara agad… Naisip ko noon na hala, teka, baka ‘pag pumayag ako na sumama rito baka isipin niya na okay-okay lang, so hinay-hinay muna.”
Things eventually worked out well between the two. Fast forward to 2014, Rodrigo and Anson-Roa are busy preparing for their big day.
Admitting that it is not usual for people to get married at this point in their lives, Anson-Roa quipped: “Naku, baka may mga walk-ins diyan sa simbahan, sabihin, ‘hoy, sino ‘yung nagce-celebrate ng golden wedding anniversary nila?’”
The veteran actress went on to recall their “pamamanhikan,” which included Rodrigo’s 99-year-old mother.
“At this day and age, sabi nga nila, meron pa bang namamankikan, that’s one. Tapos two, meron pa bang namamanhikan na kasama ‘yung ina na 99 years old?” she said.
“Nako, feeling ko ako ay dalagang Pilipina,” she added, laughing.
Anson-Roa said they have tapped Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap" Estrada and fellow veteran actress Susan Roces, among others, as their wedding sponsors.
“Si Susan kasi family friend din nila (Rodrigo) for the longest time. At si Atty. King lawyers for Mayor Erap also,” she said.