Palace defends Aunor snub for National Artist


Posted at Jun 22 2014 01:51 PM | Updated as of Jun 22 2014 09:51 PM

multi awarded superstar Nora Aunor

MANILA- Malacanang defended President Benigno Aquino III’s decision not to include award-winning actress Nora Aunor on the list of new National Artists.

In an interview with radio dzRB, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Aquino’s decision is based on who will best serve the national interest.

Asked if Aquino’s reason was political or had something to do with Aunor’s history with drugs, he only said: “It’s the duty of the President to decide who is deserving to be honored as National Artist. In making his decision, he considered how each measured up [on the criterion involved].”

The law dictates that it is the President’s mandate to choose who best should serve the national interest, he said, noting that this mandate comes from the Filipinos themselves.

Aunor was not included in the list of new National Artists, which was first announced late Friday night. The move that was widely criticized in social media, as well as in the arts and culture community.

Usually, Malacanang announces important statements before the press corp.

Those who were named National Artists were: Alice Reyes (dance), Francisco Coching (visual arts, posthumous); Cirilo Bautista (literature); Francisco Feliciano (music); Ramon Santos (Music); and Jose Maria Zaragoza (architecture, design and allied arts, posthumous).

National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) chairman Felipe de Leon Jr. slammed the “political influences and elements” that led to Aunor’s removal from the list.

The NCCA, which provides Malacanang with a list of recommendations, said it will hold a media conference on Monday to further address the issue.