Ill-advised or just plain ignorant?: PNoy’s pronouncement why Nora Aunor did not pass as National Artist tantamount to slander and libel

After Superstar Nora Aunor was sidelined in the bestowal of National Artist honors, and being silent for days until she finally gave her piece on the issue, now comes the President of the Republic of the Philippines explaining his side on the matter.


Nora Aunor

Said he: “Noong humarap sa akin itong mga nominations, isa lang naman ang tanong: Ano ba ang titulo? National Artist. At sa aking pananaw, ‘yung National Artist ‘yung binibigyan natin ng honor na ito, puri na ganito, dahil gusto natin sabihin malaki ang inambag sa lahing Pilipino at dapat tularan. Ang naging problema ko lang doon, alam naman natin lahat na iginagalang ko ulit si Binibining Nora Aunor, na-convict po siya sa drugs. Na-convict at naparusahan at ang tanong ngayon dito, pag ginawa ba nating National Artist may mensahe ba akong maliwanag na sinasabi sa sambayanan?”

(When I was faced with these nominations, there was only one question: What’s the title? National Artist. And as I see, a National Artist, the one we’re giving this honor to, this acclamation, it’s because we want to say (the person) has greatly contributed to the Filipino race and imitable. My only problem there, we all know that, again I respect Miss Nora Aunor, she was convicted for drugs. Convicted and punished and the question here now, if we make (her) National Artist do I have I a clear message that I’m telling the whole nation?)


President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III

The President further explained that the use of illegal drugs is a growing problem in the country and that Mexican and African drug syndicates had been trying to set up operations in the Philippines.

PNoy’s pronouncement earned more backlash as those knowledgeable of Nora’s case in the United States swear the Superstar was never convicted of the crime or punished for it.

For this, PNoy is liable for the crime of both slander (oral) and libel (written) – that is, imputing a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual.


Nora at the 7th Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong as Best Actress for ‘Thy Womb’

Nora Aunor’s lawyer in the U.S., Claire Navarro Espina, immediately issued a statement that contrary to what the President believes, the Superstar was never convicted for drug use or abuse.

Nora Aunor was never convicted of a crime, let alone a crime involving drugs here in Los Angeles. I should know – I was the attorney who represented her. This issue just needs to get corrected and then let it die down and the re-application process (for National Artist award) to begin,” she posted on Facebook.


Nora Aunor as Elsa in ‘Himala’ – adjudged CNN’s Best Asia-Pacific Film Of All Time

A suspicion for a crime, then tried to be cleared and acquitted is different from being accused beyond reasonable doubt proven by hard evidence then tried and convicted for it.

Nora Aunor’s case is of the former as she was cleared of her drug possession case in 2007 after she complied to a six-month rehabilitation program and tested negative for drug use.


Superstar from the ’70s until now

Click links for the stories – LA court drops Nora Aunor’s drug charges; Nora Aunor’s drug case dismissed by Los Angeles court; U.S. court drops Nora Aunor’s drug raps


Nora with ‘Thy Womb’ director Brillante Mendoza at the Venice Film Festival

Earlier, Nora Aunor’s issued an official statement on the matter:

“Gusto ko pong magpasalamat sa lahat ng mga taong sumuporta at patuloy na sumusuporta sa akin sa panahong ito ng usapin tungkol sa National Artist Awards.

“Inaamin ko pong nasaktan ako sa mga nangyari. Pero ang dagsa ng suporta na nakita ko at naramdaman mula sa aking mga kababayan – mga katrabaho ko sa industriya, mga fans at mga kaibigan, mga pari at madre, mga guro at iba pang taga-akademya, mga taga-media, mga National Artists, mga pangkaraniwang mamamayan dito at sa ibang bansa — ay sapat-sapat na upang maramdaman kong maski wala mang tropeo o karangalang igawad sa akin ang mga nasa kapangyarihan, iniluklok naman ako ng mga kababayan ko habang buhay sa kanilang mga puso bilang isang artista ng bayan.

“Para sa akin po ay mas totoo at mas masarap ang karangalang ito dahil taos-pusong nanggagaling sa mga taong siyang dahilan kung bakit ako nagpapakabuti bilang isang artista — ang mga mamamayang Pilipino. Ang pagsuportang ito ang lalong nagbibigay ng lakas ng loob sa akin, at ng walang kapantay na inspirasyon, upang lalo kong pagbutihin ang aking sining, upang lalo akong sipagin sa pagbabahagi ng kung anumang talento meron ako, at upang lalo ko pang pag-ibayuhin na maging isang mabuti at marangal na mamamayang Pilipino.

“Maraming salamat po at pagpalain po kayo ng Diyos.”

(I would like to thank all those who supported, and continue to support, me through all this talk about the National Artist Awards.

I admit I have been hurt by all the developments. But the outpouring of support that I saw and felt from our countrymen – from my colleagues in the industry, fans and friends, priests and nuns, teachers and members of the academe, people from media, National Artists, and common citizens here and abroad – is more than enough for me to know that with or without any kind of trophy or title bestowed by the powers-that-be, my countrymen hold me dear in their hearts as an artist of the people.

For me, this is a more genuine and more fulfilling honor, because it wholeheartedly comes from the people who precisely inspire me to work hard as an artist – the Filipino people. Your support all the more gives me courage and unparalleled inspiration to improve in my craft, so that I may share whatever talent I have, and so that I may work harder to be a good and honorable Filipino.

Thank you very much, and God bless you all.)


Perci Intalan directs Nora in ‘Dementia’

The NCCA (National Commission on Culture and Arts) and CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines) stand by their decision in nominating Nora as National Artist.

Related story at–nora-aunor-deserves-to-be-a-national-artist-040919481.html

As artistry is the sole criterion for National Artist – and not morality – many see PNoy’s biases in his decisions.

For example, he feigned ignorance about nepotism when questioned why one family – the Abad family – holds the purse of the nation.

He asked, “What’s wrong with placing them in government?”

Well, he should remember that nepotism and despotism were two reasons why his father, the martyr Ninoy, fought the Marcoses. It’s because of nepotism, too, that the country did not take off to economic prosperity under his mother’s governance as the republic became Kamag-anak Inc.


Nora wears shirt she asked from ‘Hustisya’ co-star Gardo Verzosa

Despite his noble (if it can be called as such) intentions, the President may actually be suffering from shortsightedness as the cancer cells in his lungs from unstoppable smoking may have already affected his decision-making ability.

Going back to the main issue, Ignorance of the law excuses no one – whether you’re an ordinary Juan or the elected President named Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.

Related Nora Aunor articles in this blog: ‘Padre De Familia’ and ‘Dementia’ further showcase Nora Aunor’s climactic thespic skills and Nora Aunor and Coco Martin team-up realized in ‘Padre De Familia’