MANILA – Senator Ralph Recto, husband of veteran actress turned politician, Vilma Santos believes that Nora Aunor, Vilma’s long-time industry colleague and “rival,”deserves the National Artist Award.
He likewise interjected that Vilma is also deserving of the same honour.
“Palagay ko sa mga darating na panahon, I think both of them with Nora are eligible to the national artist award,” Recto said.
“I think she’s eligible to the national artist award. ‘Pag nauna siya, e di susunod na si Vi.”
But President Benigno Aquino is sticking to his guns; defending his decision – which has since stirred up controversy – to withhold the top award from one of the country’s longest-running and most renowned film stars because of a prior drug conviction.
“Ms. Nora Aunor has been convicted for drugs and was punished for it…. By making her a national artist are we putting out the right message?” Aquino told a news conference aired on national television.
“I respect her and I recognize her body of work. But our message of zero tolerance against drugs takes priority.”
Millions of fans of 61-year-old Nora Aunor, “Noranians,” as they are popularly called, were infuriated by last month’s snub of the award-winning actress for the National Artist accolade.
The Order of National Artist award is issued by presidential proclamation in recognition of a person’s significant contributions to the advancement of Philippine arts and letters. The award comes with a cash prize, monthly pension for life and a state funeral upon the awardee’s death. dies.
Six awardees of the Order were announced last month. This brings the total number of recipients of the award 66, since its inception in 1972. Of the 66, six awardees are from the film industry.
Aunor, who goes by the moniker”Superstar,” said on Sunday that she was hurt by Aquino’s judgment, but overwhelmed by the public support.
“The Filipino masses … have conferred the highest honor on me, by declaring me the people’s national artist in their hearts,” she said.
Aunor began her career in the world of show business in the 1960s, as a singer and actress.
She took the entertainment world by storm with her soulful voice and petite, darker-skinned beauty; in sharp contrast to the stereotypically fair-skinned screen siren.
“Superstar” has, through the years, won numerous “Best Actress” awards at local and international film festivals.
However, a string of bad personal choices led to many misfortunes, including an arrest in the United States for illegal drug possession, as well as associations with unsavoury scandal-riddled Filipino politicians.