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September 01, 2015, Tuesday
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  • 5 mountaineers drown in Nagsasa Creek in San Jose, Tarlac on Monday afternoon. 13 hours ago |
  • Phivolcs records 5 tremors in areas in Southern Mindanao. 13 hours ago |
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  • Sandiganbayan issues hold departure orders vs. Fmr. Agusan Del Sur Rep. Rodolfo Plaza & 7 others linked to pork barrel scam. 13 hours ago |
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  • Binay’s camp calls on Justice Sec. Leila de Lima to resign. 14 hours ago |
  • DILG Sec. Mar Roxas says gov’t & INC leaders have been in contact with one another since the beginning of the rally at DOJ. 14 hours ago |
  • Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda says INC’s protest peacefully ended through goodwill and convergence of efforts. 14 hours ago |
  • Deputy Pres’l Spokesperson Abigail Valte says talks between gov’t & INC centered on clarification of issues & concerns. 14 hours ago |
  • Palace says there has been no deal made between gov’t and Iglesia ni Cristo. 14 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino led the National Heroes’ Day commemoration at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City. 18 hours ago |
  • Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda thanks the INC for ending its 5-day protest rally. 18 hours ago |
  • 9 killed in a collision between a multicab & a truck before dawn Monday in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat. 18 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino calls on people to unite & set aside personal interests during his message on National Heroes’ Day. 18 hours ago |
  • Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares says the right of expelled INC Minister Isaias Samson Jr. to file a complaint must be respected. 18 hours ago |
  • CIBAC Party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna says DOJ must continue hearing the complaint of expelled INC Minister Isaias Samson Jr. 18 hours ago |
  • Fire kills 6 stay-in workers in a bakery in Taal, Batangas. 18 hours ago |
  • Clean-up of area around EDSA-Shaw Boulevard ongoing following 5 days of INC’s protest. 19 hours ago |
  • Traffic flow now moving along EDSA-Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City. 19 hours ago |
  • Some INC members still trooped to DOJ early Monday morning & left only after INC’s announcement that the protest was over. 19 hours ago |
  • Commuters who were at EDSA-Mandaluyong area about 6 am Monday experienced monstrous traffic jam due to INC rally. 19 hours ago |
  • INC members rejoiced upon hearing their leaders’ announcement at about 8 am Monday that they are ending the protest. 19 hours ago |
  • LRTA says the remaining value stored in the magnetic cards can be transferred to beep cards. 19 hours ago |
  • LRT-2 removes from all its stations the gates for magnetic cards as it paves the way for beep cards. 19 hours ago |
  • Registration for 2016 polls continues in selected malls in the provinces. 19 hours ago |
  • Comelec reminds public to register for 2016 elections before deadline comes on October 31. 19 hours ago |
  • Rains forecast over Central Luzon, Bicol, Isabela, Quirino, Rizal and Quezon. 19 hours ago |
  • Possibility of the LPA near Baler, Aurora developing into a storm remote. 19 hours ago |
  • LPA located at sea 390 kms. east southeast of Baler, Aurora. 19 hours ago |
  • INC evangelist Bienvenido Santiago says INC is concluding its protest as it has reached an understanding with gov’t. 20 hours ago |
  • Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) ends its protest at EDSA-Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City. 20 hours ago |

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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