MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Friday expressed his support for singer Joey Ayala's version of the Philippine national anthem "Lupang Hinirang."
Sotto took to social media to explain that Ayala's version of the national anthem shows the right pronunciation and intonation. He also shared a video of Ayala performing "Lupang Hinirang" with tweaked lyrics.
He made the post days after proposing to tweak the closing lyrics of the 120-year-old national anthem to remove the last line "ang mamatay nang dahil sa'yo."
"Maraming mahina intindimiento. Ayaw niyo? Huwag! But I will support Joey Ayala's version of singing the national anthem. Tama pronunciation and intonation," the lawmaker said in a tweet.
(Many have poor understanding. You don't want it? Then don't! But I will support Joey Ayala's version of singing the national anthem. The pronunciation and intonation are correct.)
"The original translation from Spanish to English to Filipino is the cause of the wrong cadence of words," he added.
Ayala, former chairman of the music committee of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, tweaked the last line of the national anthem from "Ang mamatay nang dahil sa'yo" to "Ang magmahal ng dahil sa’yo.”
In the 2013 video, Ayala explained that he thinks the last line of the song was probably doing "grave psychological damage" to young Filipinos.
"Kaya 'pag gruma-graduate ang tao, ang gusto niya eh mag-abroad kasi ang implicit belief eh andito ka, tepok ka, killed ka," Ayala said.
(So when they graduate, they want to go abroad because the implicit belief is that if you are here in the Philippines, you are dead, killed.)
The line "Ang magmahal ng dahil sa’yo,” however, sends a generally positive message, Ayala said.
The Senate President earlier this week said he was mulling over filing a resolution that proposes a slight change in the last line of the national anthem, arguing that it has a defeatist message.
Instead of the line: "Ang mamatay nang dahil sa'yo," Sotto is proposing "Ang ipaglaban kalayaan mo."
"Lupang Hinirang" was composed in 1898 by Julian Felipe. Its lyrics were written by Jose Palma a year later.
(Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story carried a photo by Ms. Chealsy Dale for another publication. This story has since been updated to reflect a new photo.)