MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada on Tuesday said he is saddened that Rodolfo "Dolphy" Quizon, dubbed the country’s “King of Comedy,” was not named a National Artist when he was still alive.
“Nakakalungkot na hindi naibigay sa kanya habang buhay siya,” Estrada told dzMM.
Estrada, who was a producer on one of Dolphy’s many films, said granting the award to Dolphy had been “long overdue.”
“‘Yan ay long overdue na sa tagal na ni pareng Dolphy at milyong-milyong Pilipino ang kanyang napasaya at napatawa. Palagay ko ay long overdue niya ang paggawad sa kanya ng National Artist. Noong pang buhay siya, sabi ko dapat maibigay na habang buhay siya. Ang malungkot diyan, kung kalian patay na saka natin maibibigay. Talagang deserving naman si Dolphy para sa award na ‘yun,” said Estrada.
Dolphy was nominated for the award in 2009 but was rejected by the selection committee.
Estrada, however, said no award can measure the contributions made by Dolphy not only to the entertainment industry but to the lives of Filipinos.
“Mas malaki ang kontribusyon ni Dolphy sa mamamayang Pilipino lalong lalo na sa mahihirap na pumipila para sa mga sine niya. Doon ka nakita na kahit naghihirap sa buhay, kapag nakita si Dolphy natutuwa na sila eh,” he told ANC in a separate interview.
Estrada also said the entertainment industry will be hard-pressed to find another Dolphy.
“In another 100 years o baka nga hindi pa magkaroon. Ibang klase si Dolphy, he’s one in a million,” he said.
The former president urged Filipinos to pray for the soul of Dolphy, who he described as “magandang tao, masiyahang tao, walang kaaway, mabait at matulungin.”
“Hindi ko siya nakitang kailanman nagalit, very amiable and a gentleman,” Estrada added.
Dolphy passed away Tuesday night due to multiple organ failure. He was 83.