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  • Roxas: “Ako si Mar Roxas at tinatanggap ko ang hamon ng ating mga boss.” 13 hours ago |
  • Roxas: “Buong tapang at buong paninindigan kong tinatanggap ang tawag ng daang matuwid.” 13 hours ago |
  • Roxas to Aquino: “I have never met a president who sacrificed so much for the country.” 13 hours ago |
  • Roxas’ voice breaks as he remembers his brother Dinggoy’s memory. 13 hours ago |
  • Roxas says it was his brother Dinggoy who died in 1993 who should have taken on the legacy of serving government. 13 hours ago |
  • Roxas: Dito sa Club Filipino ko unang sinabing “Bayan, bago ang sarili.” 13 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino: “Ang magtutuloy sa atin sa Daang Matuwid, ang paniwala ko po, walang iba ang taong ito kundi si Mar Roxas.” 13 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino: “Bakit tayo magpapaakit sa ‘baka,’ kung meron namang sigurado?” 13 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino: “All of us have the obligation to choose the right President.” 13 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino recalls Fmr. Sen. Joker Arroyo used to compare his group as a gathering of people who could fit into a Volkswagen Beetle. 13 hours ago |
  • Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte Mayor Rommel Arnado at Club Filipino praises the peace that Aquino gov’t has put in place in his town. 14 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino and DILG Sec. Mar Roxas enter Kalayaan Hall of Club Filipino. 14 hours ago |
  • Program at Club Filipino includes testimonials from Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program’s beneficiaries. 14 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino’s convoy arrives at Club Filipino in San Juan. 14 hours ago |
  • Fire hits a residential area in Laong Laan, Sampaloc, Manila. 14 hours ago |
  • Road in front of Club Filipino in San Juan currently closed to motorists. 14 hours ago |
  • Liberal Party calls the jam-packed event at Club Filipino ‘A Gathering of Friends.’ 14 hours ago |
  • LP Senators Frank Drilon, Ralph Recto, Bam Aquino & TG Guingona as well as DBM Sec. Butch Abad among those present at Club Filipino. 14 hours ago |
  • ‘Cory Aquino Hall’ in Club Filipino where LP’s event is being held is also where Cory Aquino had taken her oath as PH President. 14 hours ago |
  • ‘Cory Aquino Hall’ in Club Filipino is where Roxas had announced that he was giving way to Aquino for 2010 polls. 15 hours ago |
  • DILG Sec. Mar Roxas arrives at Club Filipino in San Juan with wife Korina Sanchez. 15 hours ago |
  • Program at Club Filipino in San Juan for Pres. Aquino’s endorsement of Mar Roxas’ presidential candidacy begins at 10:30 am Friday. 15 hours ago |
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Nora Aunor’s exclusion sparks national debate

By Carla Mortel | Jun. 26, 2014 at 06:00pm

MUCH of the nation’s surprise, President Benigno S. Aquino chose six individuals as National Artists this year, excluding veteran actress Nora Aunor. She was the only reported nominee recommended by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) who was dropped off the list.

Malacañang made the announcement Friday and offered no details to justify Aunor’s exclusion. This only fueled the growing sentiment by artists, showbiz personalities and the public in general that Aunor deserves the conferment based on her talent, body of work and numerous recognition she received from local and international bodies.

“The Office of the President owes the CCP and the NCCA an explanation for the insulting disregard of the choice of Nora Aunor for National Artist. I ask fellow National Artists and other artists to protest this insult to the rigorous process of choosing National Artists,” said National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera in a text message sent to Noel Ferrer, PEP blogger.

In reaction, NCCA chairman Felipe De Leon Jr. was saddened that after the tedious review process, the recommended list was not declared in full.

“Like the rest of the nation, we would also like to know the basis of such decision.  However, legally, the President does not have to justify himself or his decision, we are limited to the statements of Malacañang,” said Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles, NCCA Legal Counsel.

Morality clause

In a press briefing Monday, Malacañang issued a statement that the decision was based on national interest.  This shed no light over President’s concern over the morality clause that was earlier reported by sources as the main reason behind the decision.

Don Rapadas of the Nora Aunor for National Artist Movement, however, confirmed this as he revealed the phone conversation between the President and CCP Board Chairman Emily Abrera late afternoon Friday before the announcement came out.

“The President wanted to explain his decision to veto Nora’s recommendation. Abrera argued to death the side of CCP-NCCA and talked for about 40 minutes but the President stood by his decision.  He was worried about the drug case and he does not want to send a signal that we are honoring someone who has been in this situation,” said Rapadas.

According to reports, Aunor committed and pleaded guilty to a felony of possession of illegal drugs in Los Angeles, USA.  In October 2007, the criminal case was dismissed and stricken off the record after Aunor met court requirements, including a drug treatment program and community service.

As far as the joint CCP-NCCA Board is concerned, the morality clause is a non-issue even with Aunor’s criminal case involving illegal drugs in the US.

“If the issue was whether the candidate was in good standing, the Malacañang Honors Committee found her to be so since they submitted seven names to the President. So whatever reason the President may have to exclude her name, it is clear that the recommending bodies were in agreement,” added Atty. Cruz-Angeles.

Moving forward

“NCCA is looking into the possibility of immediate resubmitting the name.  NCCA is going to propose this to the joint board and resubmit the name,” said Cruz-Angles.

Recent years saw the announcement of National Artists being hounded by controversies involving the powers of the President. To prevent such circumstance, NCCA is now looking into the review of the existing laws concerned such as Presidential Decree 208 and certain policies governing the National Artists awards.

According to Cruz-Angeles, “It is very timely to review the law and the policies. The power of the President to exclude is backed up solid jurisprudence, but we would like to explore the parameters and define that power. He has power to exclude names in the list and not necessarily justify the exclusion. NCCA is now looking into reviewing this policy and propose a new one.”

She also shared that this may result in new legislation overturning PD 208 and the creation of a new body mandated to choose National Artists. “As practiced in other countries, the declaration of National Artists comes from the academe. One possibility is the creation of an Academy of the Arts involving experts, so we can diminish political influences.

While we have the utmost respect for the President, it might be better that those with expertise will be the ones to choose the National Artists and its formal proclamation delegated to the President.”

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