Aquino leads nation in honoring DolphyBy Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
President Benigno Aquino on Wednesday led the nation in mourning the death of the Philippines’ “King of Comedy,” Dolphy, whose greatness, he said, lay in his portrayal of the Filipino everyman.
Dolphy—Rodolfo Vera Quizon in real life—died late Tuesday at Makati Medical Center after three weeks of battling complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83.
Government officials, fellow movie and TV celebrities and common folk heaped praise on Dolphy, who shot to fame for portraying gay roles and odd characters.
Malacañang hinted at a posthumous award for Dolphy, saying he was “deemed nominated” for this year’s Order of National Artists.
There were proposals for a national day of mourning for Dolphy and Palace officials were discussing them as of press timeWednesday night.
“The passing of Rodolfo Quizon Sr.—our King of Comedy—is a truly sorrowful moment for a nation that, for so long, found happiness in his work,” President Aquino said in a statement issued by Malacañang.
Dolphy, the President said, symbolized the typical Filipino who made light of the travails of daily life.
His greatness lies in his portrayal of the common man, the President said.
“Dolphy was a good man who embodied the common Filipino: He loved deeply, knew the value of humor, respected his fellowmen, and was always ready to face any challenge life threw at him,” the President said.
Mr. Aquino noted that Dolphy “came from a generation that went through a lot of trials—and the struggle taught him to be humble, honest and helpful.”
Dolphy “never turned his back on his peers; he never turned his back on the people who had propelled him toward success,” Mr. Aquino said.
The President, who awarded Dolphy with the Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart in 2010, said that throughout his life, “Dolphy showed that hope and happiness always lie at the other side of adversity; he knew that any problem can be overcome through a positive outlook.”
Dolphy, Mr. Aquino said, “did not only revolutionize the entertainment industry; he also changed our national consciousness for the better: Through his art, he extended our world views, and gave us the ability to reflect on, value, and find joy in the daily realities of Filipino life.”
Vice President Jejomar Binay also joined the nation in mourning the passing of Dolphy, calling the actor the “one and only King of Comedy.”
In a statement, Binay described Dolphy as an “inspiration to millions of ordinary Filipinos.”
“He rose from humble beginnings to become one of the pillars not only of the entertainment industry, but also of Philippine arts and culture,” Binay said.
“In spite of his success, he remained humble and loyal to his friends and shared his blessings with the less fortunate,” Binay said.
The Vice President hailed Dolphy for bringing “joy to the hearts of the Filipino people.”
“As much as we wanted, needed and hoped for more time to spend with him, he is now with our Creator in a place without suffering,” Binay said. “It is only fitting that we remember Dolphy for the happiness he brought to our lives.”
One of Dolphy’s sons, Eric Quizon, read a family statement before a huddle of TV cameras and journalists Tuesday night, thanking millions of Filipinos for supporting his father and asking for prayers.
“Heaven is a happier place with him there,” said Quizon, who is also an actor.
More than 200 films
Dolphy started performing on stage in the 1940s during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines and made his final comedy flick, where he played a priest, two years ago.
One of his biggest comedy hits was “Facifica Falayfay,” where he played a gay man. He also starred in a popular, longtime television comedy, “John en Marsha,” where he played a man perpetually at odds with his mother-in-law.
Dolphy starred in more than 200 films in his 66-year career. Many of his comedy flicks were produced by his own movie firm, RVQ Productions, which he set up in the 1960s.
Dolphy had never been married, but bore children with a number of women. Some of his children also entered the movies, with a few following in his footsteps as a comedian.
As a young boy, he worked as a laborer, watching comedy stage shows before he himself became immensely popular. Philippine presidential candidates had sought his backing during elections to endear themselves to his massive following.
Former President Joseph Estrada, a former actor, said Dolphy should receive the prestigious National Artist award.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), which jointly undertakes the selection of national artists with the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), had informed the Palace that Dolphy had been “deemed nominated” for the award. The NCCA, she said, had already secured clearance from the Office of the Solicitor General to proceed with the screening of nominees for the Order of the National Artists for 2012.
Nominated in 2009
In 2009, Dolphy was nominated for the award but only managed to get past the first stage of the screening process, Valte said.
That year’s nominees did not get their awards because politics tainted the selection, prompting a challenge in the Supreme Court, which temporarily stopped the awards.
With a new government, however, the NCCA is again free to confer the awards. Recently, the City Council of Manila passed a resolution nominating Dolphy for the national artist award.
Valte said Sen. Jinggoy Estrada also introduced a resolution last year urging the conferment of the national artist award on Dolphy.
Lawmakers joined the nation in mourning the passing of the actor. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. led the House of Representatives in paying tribute to the King of Comedy. “We condole with his family and likewise express our gratitude and respect for his talent and gift of laughter to Filipinos of different generations and from all walks of life,” Belmonte said.
Representative Anthony Rolando Golez Jr. of Bacolod City filed a resolution Wednesday, urging the House to pay tribute to Dolphy who, he said, made life lighter for his audiences.
Representative Juan Edgardo Angara of Aurora province said heaven must be rolling with laughter by now, as Dolphy has brought his act there.
“If laughter is the best medicine, Dolphy is a pharmaceutical giant,” Angara said.
Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casiño said Dolphy portrayed roles that reflected love and laughter in the lives of Filipinos.
“Today we mourn and shed tears for someone who filled our lives with so much laughter,” Casiño said. “Thank you very much, Dolphy.”
Flags at half-staff
In Manila, Mayor Alfredo Lim ordered the Philippine flag lowered to half-staff at all government offices and schools as a sign of mourning.
Last month, during the celebration of Araw ng Maynila, Lim conferred on Dolphy the city’s Gawad Diwa ng Lahi award for excellence in the arts. Dolphy’s son Vandolph accepted the award on his behalf. With reports from Jerry E. Esplanada, Cynthia D. Balana, Jaymee T. Gamil, DJ Yap, Jocelyn R. Uy, Nathaniel R. Melican and AP