By Evelyn Macairan - The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) disclosed yesterday that the City Council of Manila had nominated the late comedy king Dolphy for National Artist, which will next be given in 2013.

NCCA planning officer 3 Frances Alincastre said that Dolphy, Rodolfo Vera Quizon Sr. in real life, was officially nominated after a board resolution issued recently by the City Council of Manila.

“They just need to provide us with updates, maybe if they have a DVD or a book about Dolphy, which was not submitted in 2009.”

Dolphy died last July 10. He was nominated for the National Artist Award in 2009 but the multi-awarded actor was not chosen that year, as he only reached the first level of screening.

When Dolphy was confined at the Makati Medical Center and suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, there was a strong clamor from the public to name him a National Artist.

Nominees for National Artist undergo a rigorous and stringent screening process, consisting of three steps.

Since his name was submitted as a nominee for next year’s award under the category of cinema, Alincastre said the deliberation on Dolphy would have to return to step one, where his body of works would be scrutinized by a panel of experts.

The second level of deliberation is before a jury of experts, while the third round is done by joint boards of the NCCA and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

The joint boards would then submit one name for each of the seven categories – dance, music, theater, visual arts, literature, film and broadcast, and architecture, design and allied arts – to President Aquino.

NCCA chairman Felipe de Leon Jr. said that aside from Dolphy, only one new nomination was submitted since they opened the nominations for National Artist last Aug. 28.

The other nominee is Ilocano literary writer Jose Bragado of Bannawag Magazine.

De Leon urged organizations to submit early their board resolutions supporting the nomination of a person they are endorsing and not wait for the Nov. 30 deadline.

The NCCA hopes to announce the new National Artists in June next year.

He said that aside from the fact that Filipinos have a penchant to “wait for the last minute” before they act, the recent calamities such as typhoons and southwest monsoon might have been a cause of delay for interested parties to turn in the names of their nominees.

During the 2009 awards, the NCCA and CCP were dragged into a controversy after former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo bestowed the most coveted award to four persons whom critics – including past national artists – believed were undeserving of the title.

Musician Ramon Santos was dropped from the shortlist of nominees and the names of four persons were inserted – Cecille Guidote-Alvarez (theater), Magno Jose “Carlo” Caparas (visual arts and film), Francisco Mañosa (architecture) and Jose “Pitoy” Moreno (fashion designer).

The Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order that prevented Malacañang from conferring the award that year.

De Leon said he is hoping that the SC would invalidate their awards.

Unfortunately, the three other winners in 2009, who are all deceased, were affected by the controversy and have not yet been officially declared National Artist, putting on hold the cash award worth P75,000 meant for their heirs.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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