Palace: Nora Aunor will be National Artist in ‘God’s perfect time’

MANILA — Malacañang on Thursday expressed optimism that Nora Aunor, known in Philippine cinema as Superstar, will receive the coveted National Artist award “in God’s perfect time”.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark after the actress from Bicol was excluded from the new list of National Artists conferred by President Rodrigo Duterte in a ceremony held last Wednesday at Malacañang Palace.

“Ms. Nora Aunor is still young and in God’s perfect time we are optimistic that she will be proclaimed as a National Artist,” Panelo said in a statement he read during Palace press briefing.

“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,” he added.

Panelo said Nora Aunor’s non-inclusion was to spare her “from emotional and psychological torment from the barrage of mixed reactions the award will bring.”

“As she herself stated in her statement: ‘What’s the essence of an award if I — and those who believe in me — get to be mocked again and again. The respect of the people I had work with is more than enough for me’,” Panelo said.

In 2014, former president Benigno Aquino III removed the actress from the list of National Artist awardees due to an issue linking her to illegal drugs.

“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,” Panelo said.

“Her phenomenal rise to movie and musical stardom that counted a generation of shrieking and adoring fans unparalleled in the movie and music industry is a walking testament to her mesmerizing artistry and singing voice and the people’s acceptance. She truly is the crowned people’s artist,” he added.

The country’s new National Artists conferred by Duterte include known composer Ryan Cayabyab for music; Lauro “Larry” Alcala for visual arts, Francisco Mañosa (Architecture and Allied Arts), Ramon Muzones and Resil B. Mojares (Literature), Amelia Lapeña Bonifacio (Theater) and Eric de Guia a.k.a. Kidlat Tahimik (Film and Broadcast Arts).

National Commission for Culture and the Arts and Cultural Center of the Philippines recommended the new National Artist awardees to the President.

Order of National Artist is the highest national recognition given to Filipinos who have made significant contribution to the development of Philippine arts.