PNoy won't intervene in selection of Dolphy as National Artist
(Updated 4:23 p.m.) - Despite his high regard for the late King of Comedy Dolphy (or Rodolfo Vera Quizon Sr. in real life), President Benigno Aquino III won't intervene in the process to select the new set of National Artists.
"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," deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said during a briefing in Malacañang on Wednesday.
She issued the statement amid calls to declare Dolphy, who passed away on Tuesday night, as National Artist.
The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), together with the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), manages the process for the award.
The selection of nominees is administered by the Special Research Group, which validates the works of the nominees, and the National Artist Award Council of Peers, which screens the nominees and recommends them to the NCCA and CCP boards. The boards then deliberate and make a vote.
The final list is then presented to the President, who confirms the list and confers the award.
Valte said that Communications Group Undersecretary Manolo Quezon had spoken to the NCCA last week and was informed that Dolphy has been nominated for the Award.
She said the late comedian was nominated by the Manila City Council.
"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. So they will be proceeding with their screening and vetting," she said.
Valte said that when Dolphy was nominated for the same award in 2009, he only managed to pass the first screening and not the succeeding ones.
She noted, however, that they don't want to preempt the selection process. She likewise refused to comment on Aquino's inclination regarding the issue.
"The President obviously has very great respect for Mang Dolphy. Nakita naman din po natin ‘yung naging pahayag ‘nung Pangulo—‘yung naging pahayag ng Pangulo noong ginawaran po siya ‘nung Order of the Golden Heart—and apart from that the statement of the President yesterday," she said.
"[Pero] magsasalita na lang po tayo kapag nakapagbigay na ng shortlist ang NCCA for the award," she added.
Earlier in the day, the Palace official also said that the conferment of the award must go through the proper process.
The National Artist Award (Gawad Pambansang Alagad ng Sining) is considered “the highest national recognition given to Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts.”
The award is given both to living artists and to those who died after the establishment of the award in 1972 who excelled in the following fields: Music, Dance, Theater, Visual Arts, Literature, Film, Broadcast Arts, and Architecture and Allied Arts.
Of the 57 National Artists listed by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 17 were recognized posthumously, including the country's first National Artist Fernando C. Amorsolo.
Other National Artists who were recognized posthumously are Amado V. Hernandez (Literature), Carlos "Botong" V. Francisco (Painting), Ernani Joson Cuenco (Music), Felipe Padilla De Leon (Music), Ishmael Bernal (Film), J. Elizalde Navarro (Painting), Jose T. Joya (Painting), Lino Brocka (Cinema), Ramon Valera (Fashion Design), Rolando S. Tinio (Theater and Literature), Severino Montano (Theater), Vicente S. Manansala (Painting), Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero (Theater), Gerardo "Gerry" De Leon (Film), Pablo S. Antonio (Architecture), and Ronald Allan K. Poe, more popularly known as Fernando Poe Jr. (Film).
Fernando Poe Jr. is the only film actor to receive the award.
Recipients of the award are entitled to a cash prize of up to P100,000, monthly life pension, medical benefits, life insurance coverage, and a state funeral.
Valte, meanwhile, said Aquino has expressed his intention to visit Dolphy's wake but has yet to set a specific schedule for it.
She also said that the President will still have to hear proposals to declare a National Day of Mourning for the actor's passing. –With a report from Carmela Lapeña/KG/HS, GMA News
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