President invokes prerogative in bypassing Aunor for award
The exclusion of veteran actress Nora Aunor from the list of national artist awardees “does not diminish her iconic stature” or her significant contributions to Philippine cinema and music, Malacañang said.
Aunor, who was once linked to illegal drugs, was also among the nominees for film during the 2014 selection but former President Benigno Aquino III exercised presidential prerogative and eased her out, triggering a scathing public uproar.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said it was up to President Duterte to approve the conferment of the award on any nominee.
“Of course the power and the privilege to appoint rests on the President. That’s discretionary,” Panelo said at a press briefing on Thursday.
Although Aunor’s name was on the list submitted to Duterte, she did not get a unanimous vote from the joint boards of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, he explained.
“Her noninclusion does not diminish her iconic stature as the country’s ‘Superstar’ and her significant contributions to film, theater, television and music industries,” Panelo said. —JULIE M. AURELIO
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