Nora Aunor and Robin Padilla. Composite image
MANILA - Robin Padilla has demanded an explanation for the controversial exclusion of veteran actress Nora Aunor from the latest batch of National Artists proclaimed by the Malacanang last weekend.
Speaking in an interview on DZMM on Tuesday, the 44-year-old actor said that government should at least offer a concrete reason to calm the speculations about why the actress was left out by President Benigno Aquino III.
"Kailangan nilang ipaliwanag kung ano 'yung kanilang naging mga desisyon. Lalong lalo na sa napakalaking persyento ng Pilipino ang nagtatanong," he claimed.
The decision, announced on June 20, was widely criticized on social media and by members of the arts and culture community.
One of the rumored reasons swirling around that supposedly barred Aunor from receiving the award was her purported history of drug abuse.
"Hindi naman siya nagnakaw, wala naman siyang sinira at sinaktan na kahit sinong tao. Kung ginawa man niya 'yun, sarili niya ang sinaktan niya doon," Padilla added.
He also offered his explanation on why the supposed personal problems of an artist, like the aforementioned drug abuse, should not be included in the basis to become a National Artist.
"Hindi po dapat. Arts 'yan eh. Pag sinabi po nating arts, malawak po ang ibig sabihin niyan. Kaya pag sinabi natin na 'in the name of arts,' mayroon nang nagbo-bold diyan, mayroon violence na ang tindi-tindi pero napapalampas dahil in the name of art," he said.
Padilla then listed reasons as to why Aunor deserves to the award, placing her above the late Fernando Poe Jr., who was posthumously conferred the title.
He believes that the worldwide success of 1982 film "Himala" alone should be enough for Aunor to be placed among the company of the film's director, Ishmael Bernal, who was given the title back in 2001.
"Iisa lang talaga si Nora Aunor na may dala ng bandila ng Pilipinas sa buong daigdig. Siya lang ang nagiisang nakagawa noon. Wala po sa amin, siya lang ang nakaikot sa buong mundo na dala ang bandila ng Pilipinas," he said.