Lumbera wants Dolphy to be National Artist

By Reyma Buan-Deveza, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Apr 26 2012 05:01 PM | Updated as of Apr 27 2012 05:04 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Days after local stars Vilma Santos and Sharon Cuneta said Dolphy Quizon should be proclaimed National Artist, a man who has received the prestigious award expressed his support for the King of Comedy.

In an interview with ABS-CBNnews.com after a press conference for the 35th Gawad Urian Awards, National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera said Quizon deserves the highest recognition for his contributions to Philippine cinema.

“For film, sa palagay ko Dolphy would be my choice dahil sa haba ng kanyang paglilingkod sa industriya," Lumbera said. “Saka mas consistent ang kanyang pagganap bilang artista ng mainstream industry.”

The debate over who deserves to be named National Artist was reignited after a lawmaker filed a bill to push superstar Nora Aunor to receive the award.

Lumbera, who was proclaimed National Artist in 2006, said this issue is a good reminder to the Supreme Court to finally decide on its status quo order in 2009, which prevented the Palace from conferring the title to Cecile Guidote-Alvarez (theater), Carlo J. Caparas (film), Francisco Mañosa (architecture), and Jose “Pitoy” Moreno (fashion design).

“Unang una, parang ang lumalabas walang nangyaring protesta sa Supreme Court. Ang Supreme Court naglabas ng TRO (temporary restraining order) at pinaasa kami na within 10 days ay magkakaroon ng oral argument that never happens. Nawala na si [dating pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo] sa eksena, parang nawala na rin ang kontrobersiya sa National Artists.

"Kaya itong usapan sa media tungkol kay Dolphy, kay Vilma at kay Nora ay nakakabuti dahil magigising siguro ang mga SC justices na mayroon silang inisyung TRO na hanggang ngayon ay nakabitin pa. At importante itong malaman at makita ng mga congressman na nagpo-propose na maging National Artist si ganito at si ganyan etc., na hindi automatic na mangyayari na magkaroon ng National Artist kapag na-nominate at namili ng National Artist dahil sa TRO na hindi pa naayos," Lumbera explained.

Ganging up on Caparas?

Meanwhile, Lumbera explained that they are not ganging up on Caparas, saying that they are only after the “artistic record” of the film director. 

He said that for their group, Caparas does not deserve the National Artist award.

“Ang problema sa record ni Caparas, hindi naman markado ang artistic quality ng kanyang production. Isa siyang filmmaker, popular, his movies have been box office hits, pero ang katangian na hinahanap sa isang kinatawan ng film industry ay ‘yung naiibang hipo sa materyal, naiibang pananaw sa paglikha ng papel, isang bagay na makikita natin sa mga naging pinagdaanan ni Dolphy,” the National Artist for Literature said.

Lumbera said that right now, what is important is for the Supreme Court to finally decide on the TRO so that the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) could start accepting nominations for the new list of National Artists.

“Yes, importante na ‘yung TRO na yon ay maayos upang ang komite ng NCCA at CCP ay makapagsimulang tumanggap ng nominasyon,” Lumbera said.