MANILA, Philippines -- Senator-elect Grace Poe revealed that the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin once played an important role in her adoption.
In an interview with ANC "Pipol" host Ces Drilon, Poe said it was Cardinal Sin who convinced the woman who found her abandoned at Jaro Church in Iloilo to allow her to be formally adopted by the late action king Fernando Poe Jr. and veteran actress Susan Roces.
Poe recalled that during the campaign period, she finally had the chance to meet Sayong, the woman who found her.
"I've lost track of her until this campaign period. I was on a plane, on my way to Iloilo and was seated beside a priest. He said, 'You know, I know...the one who found you... She's here now vacationing from Canada.' So he got us together," she said.
During their meeting, the incoming senator said she was able to verify the stories told to her by her Ninang Tessie, a single haciendera from Bacolod who took care of her before she was adopted by the Poes.
She said Tessie, who was friends with Sayong, was also an orphan.
Poe said Sayong decided to give her to Tessie after no one came forward to claim her despite the church's announcements in media.
However, Sayong did not agree when Tessie wanted her to be formally adopted by Poe and Roces. She recalled that Tessie, who was a big fan of Roces, often brought her to Manila. The celebrity couple then instantly liked her.
Poe said that when her ninang finally decided that the Poe couple would be the best in terms of caring for her, "She asked Sayong...if it was okay for her to allow my ninang na to leave me with my parents. Because she was the original founder eh, so she needs to release that for them to be able to formalize the adoption."
"[But] she didn't want to because, she said, 'I entrusted her to you. I mean, I don't really know this couple,'" Poe recalled.
"You know who convinced her to say na 'Hindi, Sayong, kina Susan yan'? Cardinal Sin. He was the bishop of Jaro at the time."
"That's why sometimes I feel nga it's providential," Poe added.
Adoption not an issue for hubby
Meanwhile, Poe's husband, Neil Llamanzares, said her being an adopted child has never been an issue between them.
"For me, it was never... It was a non-issue," Llamanzares said.
He said his wife's voice is exactly as her mom's, and that she also looks like a Poe.
Llamanzares said the only time Poe's adoption becomes an issue is when hurtful things are being said against his wife, especially on social media.