MANILA, Philippines - A posthumous National Artist award can still be conferred on Dolphy with the medallion and citation to be given to the honoree’s family.
But Malacañang declined to answer when asked if it thinks that Dolphy deserves the award, saying it does not want to preempt and politicize the selection process.
“Obviously, the President thinks very highly of Mang Dolphy. However, we have stated in the past [that] we do not want to politicize the process. We do not want to make any prejudgments and magsasalita na lang po tayo kapag nakapagbigay na po ng shortlist ang NCCA for the award,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told reporters.
“Hindi rin po natin din mahuhusgahan kung dapat matagal na o hindi. As we have said, the President personally believes in the contribution of Dolphy to his industry and also to his numerous people he has helped because of his foundation.”
Malacañang said Dolphy has been deemed nominated as National Artist and that the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has been given the go signal by the Office of the Solicitor General to proceed with the screening process.
The NCCA has earlier said that Dolphy’s nomination is now being evaluated, along with other nominated artists.
“I understand Undersecretary [Manolo] Quezon spoke to them last week and ang sabi po ng NCCA is that Dolphy has been deemed nominated for the National Artist award. They will be receiving other nominations. The NCCA has gotten clearance from the Office of the Solicitor General to proceed with the screening and the vetting of nominees for National Artist for 2012,” Valte said.
In 2009, the Supreme Court issued a TRO stopping the conferment of the National Artist awards to Carlo J. Caparas, Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, Francisco Mañosa, and Jose “Pitoy” Moreno after a petition was filed by a group of national artists when then President Arroyo added names outside of the final list submitted by the NCCA and the CCP to the President.
Under the guidelines, “The Order of National Artists shall not be conferred more frequently than every three years.”
The first National Artist award was conferred posthumously on Fernando Amorsolo by then President Ferdinand Marcos in 1972.