MANILA - A Palace official feels the controversy over President Aquino’s decision not to name film icon Nora Aunor a National Artist has been settled.
Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. noted the agencies who wanted Aunor included on the roster have expressed respect for Aquino’s decision.
Malacanang remains mum on why Aquino chose not to name Aunor a National Artist.
He did not comment on speculations that Aquino’s decision was because of Aunor’s history of substance abuse or her previous endorsement of former President Gloria Arroyo, whom Aquino has repeatedly attacked for alleged corruption.
"The President followed the law and jurisprudence in deciding and choosing those that will be conferred the Order of the National Artist. The National Commission on Culture and Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the two bodies that initiated and shepherded the selection process, have affirmed their respect for the decision of the President,' Coloma said.
In his letter to the President dated June 23, NCCA Chairman Felipe M. de Leon Jr. said: "We are happy that we have a new set of National Artists."
De Leon also blamed the media for putting words into his mouth.
"Passions are running high because of the non-inclusion of Nora Aunor on the list of newly-proclaimed national artists. And in the fierce competition for a scoop, the media snoops and scribes have gone overboard with their investigations and reporting of the circumstances regarding the awards. The thrill of the hunt has caused them to lose restraint and respect for truth in their accounts," he said.
"What I expressed to the press people was just sadness at the non-inclusion of Ms. Aunor. But their penchant for media hype has led them to gross exaggerations. I said I simply lamented the results but the wording was changed to 'vehement objection,' tinutuligsa or slamming Malacanang for its decision. None of these were stated by NCCA or any of its officials. Rest assured that we have always understood that the final decision when it comes to the National Artist award is in your office,” he added.
Coloma declined to comment on a question as to whether Aquino is a “Vilmanian” or a fan of Aunor’s film rival, Vilma Santos.
"Wala na po akong maidadagdag na impormasyon o komento hinggil diyan," he said.
Aquino has links to the entertainment industry.
His sister Kris is a TV and movie personality. Her son, James Aquino Yap or “Bimby” has also appeared in front of the camera.
Aquino’s aunt, Lupita, is a movie director.