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PNoy: Drug case disqualified Nora as Nat'l Artist

Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - July 1, 2014 - 12:53pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III finally explained on Tuesday why he did not accept the nomination of Nora Aunor for National Artist for Film.

In a televised interview with media, Aquino cited Aunor's drug case as the reason for her exclusion in the newest list of National Artists.

Aquino believes that individuals who are proclaimed as National Artists are those who have contributed greatly to the Filipino race and those who can be considered as role models.

"Ang naging problema ko lang doon, alam naman nating lahat, na-convict po siya sa drugs. Na-convict at naparusahan. Ang tanong ngayon dito, kapag ginawa ba nating National Artist, may mensahe ba akong maliwanag na sinasabi sa sambayanan?" Aquino asked at the sidelines of the Philippine Air Force anniversary rites in Pampanga.

The President said proclaiming Aunor as a National Artist could send the wrong message that illegal drugs are accepted in the Philippines.

"Ayaw kong magkaroon ng mensahe na kung minsan ay pwede yung ilegal na droga or acceptable. Dapat yung mensahe, it is always bad and illegal drugs do nobody any good," Aquino said.

"I cannot emphasize that message enough and at the same time, raise Ms. Nora Aunor as the National Artist," he added.

Aquino said if he accepted Aunor's nomination, some people will also question his decision.

The President said he respects the work and achievements of the Philippine cinema's "Superstar."

"Ginagalang ko siya, kinikilala ko yung kanyang trabaho at mga obra, pero ang problema ko, mukhang mas mataas ang prayoridad na maliwanang na mensahe, yung droga, zero-tolerance tayo dito at mali all the time," he said.

Late last month, Malacañang named six outstanding Filipinos as National Artists. They are Alice Reyes for dance, Francisco Coching (posthumous) for visual arts, Cirilo Bautista for literature, Francisco Feliciano and Ramon Santos for music and Jose Maria Zaragoza for architecture, design and allied arts.

ALICE REYES AQUINO AUNOR CIRILO BAUTISTA FRANCISCO COCHING FRANCISCO FELICIANO AND RAMON SANTOS JOSE MARIA ZARAGOZA NATIONAL ARTIST NATIONAL ARTISTS
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