A congressman who co-authored the bill proposing to put the late movie icon Fernando Poe Jr. in the geographical map of Quezon City has withdrawn support to the measure that will change the nomenclature San Francisco del Monte Ave. into Fernando Poe Jr. Ave. in honor of the actor’s memory.
In letters sent to the leadership of the House of Representatives and the Senate, Quezon City Rep. Anthony “Onyx” Crisologo declared he has decided to withdraw support for House Bill 7499 that was recently passed on final reading in the House and is now pending in the Senate.
HB 7499 is entitled: “An Act Renaming Del Monte Avenue Traversing Barangays Nayong Kanluran, Paltok, Paraiso, Del Monte, Damayan, Masambong, Talayan, Manresa, Siena, St. Peter, San Jose, and N.S. Amoranto, Located in Legislative District I of Quezon City, as Fernando Poe Jr. Avenue.”
The bill was passed in the House last Sept. 10 and is currently under deliberation in the Senate where Poe’s daughter, Sen. Grace Poe, is a member.
The Senate version of the bill was filed by Sen. Lito Lapid, a colleague of the late Poe who died shortly after a failed presidential bid in 2004.
Crisologo, who represents the district, said he arrived at the decision after conducting “multiple consultations and dialogues” with his constituents.
“I have resolved to withdraw my co-authorship of the aforementioned bill to preserve the historical context behind Del Monte Ave. and continue to protect the roots of our district,” he said.
Nonetheless, Crisologo said he remains a fan of Poe as he cited the actor’s “immense contribution to the development of the film industry in the Philippines.”
A big-chunk of District I territory is part of the San Francisco del Monte district.
HB 7499 is the substitute measure for HB 3958 that was introduced by Rep. Precious Hipolito-Castelo and co-authored by Reps. Allan Benedict Reyes; Jose Christopher Belmonte, and Crisologo, who are all Quezon City congressmen. Bagong Henerasyon partylist Rep. Bernadette Herrera, a former Quezon City councilor, and Patrol partylist Rep. Bong Teves are also listed as co-authors.
In filing the bill, Castelo cited Poe, “popularly known as FPJ, as a great cultural icon and a champion of the masses.” She said “Da King” has left an “unparalleled legacy that no other actor-director-writer-producer has ever achieved.”
“His legacy lives on in FPJ Productions in Del Monte Ave., Quezon City. For his unprecedented contribution to culture and Philippine society, it is but fitting that he be memorialized where his legacy lives on,” stressed Castelo, who represents District 2.
However, at least seven barangay councils in District 1 reportedly opposed passage of the measure after priests from the Franciscan Order appealed that the name Del Monte Ave. be retained.
In an open letter, the Franciscan priests cited the “great historical value of the name Del Monte Ave.”
Fr. Cielo Almazan, head of the order in the Philippines, said it was in San Francisco del Monte that the “first Christian community” in Quezon City was established. “Therefore, this area and their historical names are sacred to the civil and religious history of Quezon City,” stressed Almazan.