MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday said actress Nora Aunor’s non-inclusion in the list of National Artist awardees this year was meant to spare her from torment.
“Her non-inclusion is to spare Ms. Nora Aunor from the emotional and psychological torment coming from the barrage of mixed reactions the award will bring,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace press briefing Thursday.
Panelo said Aunor “is still young and in God’s perfect time we are optimistic that she will be proclaimed as a National Artist.”
“Her non-inclusion does not diminish her iconic stature as the country’s Superstar and her significant contributions to film, theater, television and music industries,” Panelo added.
He also heaped praises on the actress despite the snub.
“The artistical and musical legend that is Nora Aunor may not have passed the critical eyes of a select juror and the awarding authority to be bestowed the National Artist award but her enrapturing film artistry and musicality and mass acceptance surpass any technical recognition given by any entity or authority,” he said.
Aunor had said it was enough that she is respected by colleagues.
"Ano ba naman ang isang award kung kapalit naman nito'y ang paulit-ulit na paghamak sa pagkatao ko at sa mga taong naniniwala sa akin? Mas makakabuti pong ipagpatuloy na lang natin ang paglikha ng makabuluhang pelikula at mga awit na magsisilbing inspirasyon sa ating mga Filipino," Aunor had said.
National Commission for Culture and Chair Virgilio Almario Arts explained that Aunor, known for her iconic films such as “Himala” and “Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos” and “Bona,” was automatically nominated this year because of her previous nomination, but she was dropped from the list.
Aunor had been nominated for the award during the term of former President Benigno Aquino III but she was dropped from the roster of awardees due to her alleged involvement in illegal drugs.
Almario said he was not privy why Aunor was dropped from the list once again, this time by President Rodrigo Duterte.