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Sonia Roco

Sonia Cubillo Malasarte-Roco is the widow of the late senator of the Philippines and former Presidential candidate Raul Roco. She ran for the Senate in the 2007 Philippine Midterm Elections under her late husband’s party, Aksyon Demokratiko, which is allied with the broad opposition coalition called Genuine Opposition. She joined the coalition after JV Ejercito, son of deposed President Joseph Estrada, pulled out as an opposition candidate at his father’s behest.

Sonia Roco was born to then Congressman Pablo Malasarte of Bilar and homemaker Petra Cubillo of Calape, Bohol. A consistent honor student from elementary to college, she was awarded the "Most Outstanding Student of the Philippines" in 1964, placing first (future husband Raul placed second) among all college students ranked on the basis of academic excellence, leadership abilitiy, and special achievement. Sonia was also a recipient of the Cardinal Santos Leadership Award, having served as president of the Student Catholic Action (SCA) and the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), a national student organization founded by future Philippine Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban.


Sonia holds a Bachelor of Science in Education degree (Magna Cum Laude) from Saint Joseph’s College, Quezon City, a Master of Arts in Communication Arts and a Master of Arts in Social Psychology from Ateneo de Manila University. She has also taken courses at the Child Development Center of the University of the Philippines.

As an educator, Sonia co-founded "Our School," a center for early childhood education at the Ateneo Psychology Department. She also established "Live and Learn Pre-school," a kindergarten school in Katipunan, Quezon City. As a theater artist, Sonia trained in Speech and Drama in London, England. Upon returning to the Philippines, she taught, acted in, directed, and produced musicals and |stage plays. Sonia ran in the Philippine general election, 2007, coming in 17th place (Genuine Opposition), with 8,457,710 votes.

As a devoted wife to Raul, Sonia actively supported her husband in all his roles as lawyer, congressman, senator, Secretary of Education, presidential candidate, and international parliamentarian. The couple has six children and seven grandchildren. They were bestowed the Golden Parents Award for 1995. In both 1998 and 2004 Philippine presidential campaign, Sonia actively campaigned for her husband and was described by local media as very well-prepared to be a First Lady of the Philippines. On August 5, 2005, Raul Roco died of prostate cancer.

Sonia is active in educational, social, cultural, and environmental causes. As past president and founding member of the 20-year-old Women in Nation Building (WIN), she is a sought-after resource person on women’s issues. In healthcare, she is a frequent guest speaker owing to her first-hand experience as primary caregiver to then ailing husband Raul. Sonia co-founded Saint Michael’s Hospice in 1996 to help the poor and terminally ill. She maintains active relations with the Student Catholic Action Leadership Foundation, an organization which strives to revive the SCA among the contemporary Filipino youth.

Dr. Patricia Licuanan and Sonia set up the Metro Manila Community Orchestra. With Corazon Alma de Leon and Tony Arevalo, her radio program, “Kapitan del Baryo,” aimed to strengthen grassroots democracy. Since Sonia studied Dramatics in the UK, she later enrolled in the writing class of Barbara Gonzalez, composing series of poems.

Other Information

  • Born : July 20, 1944
  • Nationality : Filipino
  • Political party : Liberal Party
  • Location : Philippines
  • Education : Bachelor of Science in Education degree (Magna Cum Laude) in Saint Joseph’s College, Quezon City; Master of Arts in Communication Arts and a Master of Arts in Social Psychology in Ateneo de Manila University; Child Development Center of the University of the Philippines.


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