MANILA, Philippines – The legal controversy surrounding the National Artist Award selection in 2009 does not cover Rodolfo “Dolphy” Quizon Sr, according to a lawyer behind the Supreme Court (SC) complaint that stopped the conferment of the award three years ago.
“It is important to correct this impression because the petition we filed — I am one of the petitioners — was to protect the process from political interventions and is not intended to be a hindrance to the recognition of other artists, such as Mang Dolphy,” lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles told Rappler.
Angeles is one of the petitioners in the complaint questioning the conferment of the National Artist award to fashion designer Pitoy Moreno, architect Bobby Manosa, director Carlo Caparas and theater actress Cecille Guidote-Alvarez. The SC issued a temporary restraining order (TRO), which remains unresolved.
Angeles said the TRO only covers the 4 artists. The search process for the new national artist has already started, she said.
The selection committee for the awards – which is made up of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines – protested then President Arroyo’s move, saying the process was politicized. The 4 artists were alleged supporters of Arroyo.
A different interpretation
Malacañang and various groups have a different interpretation.
Malacañang said on June 21 that it cannot give the National Artist Award to the 83-year-old comedy icon because of the SC TRO. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda earlier said that while President Benigno Aquino III recognizes Dolphy’s contributions to the entertainment and cultural industry, his hands are tied by the TRO.
“[We don’t want to] be accused of encroaching on the powers of the judiciary. I’m certain that the Supreme Court is fully aware of what’s going on. We do not need to remind. It’s up to them,” Lacierda said.
National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera shared Malacañang’s interpretation. Amid heated debates among fans of showbiz icons Dolphy, Vilma Santos, and Nora Aunor on who deserved the National Artist award, Manila Bulletin quoted Lumbera calling on the SC to immediately resolve the TRO. “Hindi automatic na mangyayari na magkaroon ng pagno-nominate at pamimili ng National Artist dahil nga sa do’n sa TRO na hindi pa naayos,” Lumbera was quoted as saying.
There is now a growing clamor for Malacañang to confer the National Artist Award to Dolphy, who is now in critical condition at the Makati Medical Center.
Dolphy has been repeatedly nominated for the Award. In 2010, Malacañang awarded Dolphy the Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart.– Rappler.com
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