Amid Nora Aunor snub, Aquino’s list of Nat’l Artists serves PH interest—Palace
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Sunday remained unable to explain President Benigno Aquino III’s decision to drop Nora Aunor from this year’s roster of national artists but insisted that his decision “will best serve the national interest.”
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said he has yet to discuss the issue with Aquino but that the decision will always be the President’s prerogative.
“It is the duty of the President to decide on who among the shortlisted nominees deserve to be conferred the Order of the National Artist. In making the decision, the President considered how each of the nominees measured up to the criteria for choice,” Coloma said.
“We are certain that his decision was based on what will best serve the national interest because the Order of the National Artist gives recognition to those who excelled in the arts and letters and embodied the goodness and nobility of the Filipino people,” he added.
Aquino on Friday declared Alice Reyes as National Artist for Dance, Francisco Coching for Visual Arts, Cirilo Bautista for Literature, Francisco Feliciano for Music, Ramon Santos for Music and Jose Maria Zaragosa for Architecture.
Aunor’s supporters said the actress was included in the list of nominees submitted by the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. However, she was allegedly dropped by Aquino, who has the power to proclaim all or none of the recommended artists.
“The President has the prerogative to approve all or none, without needing to explain,” Coloma earlier told Inquirer.
Contemporaries of Aunor claimed that the actress was excluded from the prestigious list because of her involvement in past controversies.
“Morality is not part of the criteria; it’s the body of work that matters,” filmmaker Joel Lamangan insisted.
While Jose Javier Reyes, another filmmaker, said, “I am disappointed, but I am not surprised.”
“I hope the Aunor snub was not politically motivated because it would open a can of worms,” he added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.