NATIONAL ARTIST AWARD: WHAT TO AQUINO WAS NORA AUNOR'S FAUX PAS

If the previous president made inclusions, this one made an exclusion. Is he allowed within the law that created the National Artist award to do so? Legal eagles say he is. There does not seem to be any problem on that so far, unless another interpretation arises. Which remains a distinct possibility. But the fact remains unchanged: Nora Aunor passed the rigorous three-step process of the National Artist award. How truly rigorous is that process? For the information of readers, let us review what those steps are. The first step is nomination, which does not ensure conferral but is only the start of the rigor. The nomination is then vetted by what is known as a “special research group” composed of commissioned arts and culture experts. This is the first round. A nominee that fails in this round does not make it to the rest of the process. On the other hand, a nominee that passes is never ensured conferral. For that nominee, the trial has only begun. * READ MORE, MUCH MORE...

(ALSO) Lawyer: Nora Aunor was never convicted of drug use

PHILSTAR PHOTO -Nora Aunor receives the 2013 Ani ng Dangal Award for Cinema from NCCA chairman Felipe de Leon Jr. STAR file photo — Nora Aunor's lawyer on Tuesday denied that the actress was convicted of drug use as claimed by President Benigno Aquino III. In a post on her Facebook account, lawyer Claire Navarro Espina said Aunor had no drug conviction. "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," Espina said. "This issue just needs to get corrected and then let it die down and the re-application process (for National Artist award) to begin," the lawyer also said in a Facebook comment.(PHILSTAR NEWS). After President Benigno Aquino III admitted that drugs was the reason why he rejected Nora Aunor’s nomination as National Artist for film, her lawyer on Tuesday said the actress was never convicted of a crime involving narcotics. “Nora Aunor was never convicted of a crime, let alone a crime involving drugs here in Los Angeles. I was the attorney who represented her,” lawyer Claire Navarro-Espina said in a Facebook post. Meanwhile, broadcast journalist Cecilia “Ces” Oreña-Drilon in her Twitter post, said Espina told her in a text message that “there was never a conviction which means she is not a convicted person.” Espina added that the actress was arrested for possession of paraphernalia and methamphetamine in 2005 in Los Angeles and was entered into a diversion program and successfully completed it. According to her, the case was dismissed in 2007. The lawyer deplored about the “misinformation” of the issue in the Philippines.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

(ALSO) Aquino: Honoring Aunor would be wrong drug message

In this March 18, 2013 file photo, Philippine actress Nora Aunor poses with her trophy after winning the Best Actress Award of her movie "Thy Womb" at the Asian Film Awards as part of the 37th Hong Kong International Film Festival in Hong Kong. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III defended Tuesday, July 1, 2014 his decision not to appoint multi-awarded actress Aunor as national artist, saying doing so would send the wrong message that illegal drugs are acceptable. Aquino told reporters he decided to exclude the actress who rose from rags to stardom from this year’s list of national artist appointees because of her previous drug conviction - a detail Aunor’s lawyer says is wrong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)The Philippine president defended his decision not to appoint award-winning actress Nora Aunor as a national artist, saying Tuesday that doing so would have sent the message that illegal drugs are acceptable. President Benigno Aquino III told reporters he decided to exclude the actress, who rose from rags to stardom, from this year's list of national artist appointees because of a previous drug conviction — which Aunor's lawyer disputed. Aquino's explanation came a week after a controversy broke out over the decision, with several national artists and members of a committee that vets nominees expressing outrage. Some called for protests and for a review of the selection process. "The National Artist honour is given because we want to say this person contributed a lot to the Filipino race and should be emulated," Aquino said. "But my problem with that is ... Ms. Nora Aunor was convicted for drugs."*READ MORE...

ALSO: Nora Aunor ordered to undergo detox in US clinic

WASHINGTON, PS, 12/24/2005 - Nora Aunor, one of the Philippines’ most popular film and music stars, was set to enroll in a year-long drug detoxification program that, if successful, would let her avoid jail. “Nora will be going through a program requiring much introspection and discipline,” her lawyers from the law firm Edelberg & Espina said in a statement released here yesterday. Aunor’s lawyers said she gave up the fight after nearly nine months of vigorously contesting charges of felony drug possession filed against her by United States authorities who recommended that she enrol in the drug treatment program. “This is a challenging process for anyone and more particularly for Nora, who is far away from her country and her family, especially during this Christmas season,” they added. Aunor’s lawyers, who included Claire Espina, said the court-supervised drug treatment program involves counseling, education and other therapeutic interventions. This is available to non-violent first-time drug offenders and keeps them out of jail. “While attending this program, Nora remains free to go about her business, unencumbered in her movements,” they said.
Aunor’s lawyers urged the media and the public to “accord (her) the time, space and privacy to enable her to complete this self-imposed endeavor, free from intrusion and undue interference.” Aunor, 53, was arrested March 30 at Los Angeles International Airport after security screeners allegedly found 7.7 grams of methamphetamine and a glass pipe in her handbag. She was on her way back to her San Francisco Bay area home after a business trip to Los Angeles. She pleaded not guilty to the charge and posted $10,000 bail. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Nora: In the heart of Pinoys, I am an artist

Breaking her silence, movie superstar Nora Aunor yesterday admitted feeling hurt over being snubbed for the National Artist award. But she expressed gratitude for the expressions of support and said she was happy to see that in the heart of Filipinos, she is seen as an artist. “I admit that I was hurt by the incident. But the outpouring of support that I saw and felt from my kababayans – those people I worked with in the industry, my fans, friends, priests and nuns, teachers and others from the academy, from the media, national artists, ordinary citizens here and abroad – is enough for me to feel that even if I did not get any trophy or was not recognized by those in power, in the hearts of my kababayans I am an artist,” the veteran actress said in a statement. “I would like to say thank you to all the people who have supported me and continue to support me on this issue regarding the National Artist Awards,” she added. She said the honor given to her by the Filipino people is more valuable than being declared a National Artist. Aunor also assured the public that she continues to hone her craft in acting to please them. She said the people who believe in her inspire her to improve her skills, make her work harder and make her a better and dignified Filipino citizen. National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) legal counsel Trixie Cruz-Angeles assured Aunor they understood her sentiments. “We reassure (Aunor) that on our part, NCCA and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) were the ones who recommended her name as a National Artist. So while we feel for her, we stand by our decision that we would recommend her and let us (see) what future actions can be taken to address this kind of situation,” she said. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Palace: Nora Aunor pleaded guilty in drug case

A Palace official on Wednesday backed up President Aquino's decision not to proclaim film superstar Nora Aunor a National Artist because of her past drug conviction. Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda disputed claims Aunor is not an illegal drugs convict. "By the way, Noranian ako. I think si Ms. Nora Aunor pleaded guilty. Because she pled guilty, nag-deferred entry of judgment. Sa batas ng Amerika, merong ganung proseso na hindi tulad sa atin sa Pilipinas 'pag dito nangyari 'yan, nag-plead ka guilty, you will be - may karampatang parusa na," he said. "Sa Amerika, nag-plead siya ng guilty, tapos nagkaroon ng deferred entry of judgment provided that you undergo rehab. Iyon po iyong nangyari doon sa situation ni Ms. Nora Aunor." Lacierda again reiterated President Aquino's reasons not to name Aunor as National Artist because of her past with illegal drugs. * READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

What to Aquino was Nora Aunor’s faux pas



MANILA, JUNE 30, 2014
(INQUIRER) 
Kris-Crossing Mindanao By Antonio Montalvan II - If the previous president made inclusions, this one made an exclusion. Is he allowed within the law that created the National Artist award to do so? Legal eagles say he is. There does not seem to be any problem on that so far, unless another interpretation arises.

Which remains a distinct possibility.

But the fact remains unchanged: Nora Aunor passed the rigorous three-step process of the National Artist award. How truly rigorous is that process? For the information of readers, let us review what those steps are.

The first step is nomination, which does not ensure conferral but is only the start of the rigor. The nomination is then vetted by what is known as a “special research group” composed of commissioned arts and culture experts. This is the first round. A nominee that fails in this round does not make it to the rest of the process. On the other hand, a nominee that passes is never ensured conferral. For that nominee, the trial has only begun.

* The nominee’s name is then brought to the National Artist Award Council of Peers, which, as the name suggests, is a peer review phase, so to speak. Past awardees sit in this council. The process dictates that this council must twice deliberate to produce a shortlist.

As in the first step, a nominee that passes this step (that by itself is made up of two steps) is not ensured conferral yet. This is the second step, yet in reality is composed of the second but also a third component step. Strictly speaking then, there are a total of four steps, not to mention the nomination which actually constitutes a step in itself. If we include that, there actually are five steps.

The “third” (but in our contention, the fourth) step is the final review process. Again, if you include nomination, this makes it the fifth step. Here the shortlist is scrutinized by the boards of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Cultural Center of the Philippines, which must sit in a joint board meeting.

It is composed of 30 members, with each giving his/her individual vote for every nominee. A nominee passes this step by receiving a simple majority—50 percent + 1—of the voting members.

Nora Aunor passed all the stringent steps. In the final process, she was said to have received more than the simple majority required. Note that at this stage, what had previously been a shortlist has now become an even shorter one.

If you want comparisons, a highly popular movie personality (now dead) also reached the third step in a past vetting process but received less than 10 votes only. That was how powerful the vetting and voting process was for Nora. There is no such thing as popularity here.

Malacañang disregarded all of that. Does it have the personality to distrust that legally prescribed process? Perhaps the exclusion may not lie in the province of legalities? More importantly, does it have the propriety to exclude Nora?

By the very nature of its peculiar character—an honor system for Filipino artistry and genius—the National Artist award is best privileged from the perspective of its own peers who are the experts in their respective endeavors.

Thus, one basic requirement of such nature is to insulate it from the slings and arrows of partisan politics. The last Supreme Court decision touching on the award—where it stripped Cecile Guidote Alvarez, Carlo Caparas, Jose “Pitoy” Moreno and Francisco Mañosa of the awards after Malacañang included them even if their names never passed what turns out now to be a five-step process—must now be part of jurisprudence. But in fact it also speaks much of that propriety.

Where does propriety lie in this controversy? It lies right on how Malacañang treats this honor system from a totally different worldview. The National Artist award, just by looking at the rigorous five-step process, operates from the worldview of the culture of the spirit. “The culture of the spirit is the culture of caring.

There is interconnectedness in that worldview. It is a horizontal process. Inversely, and from which Malacañang operates, is the culture of power. The culture of power, given to rivalrous factions and thus operates from a vertical top-to-bottom process, is a culture of disconnectedness and distrust,” opines an arts and culture stalwart whose name must for now be protected from a vindictive Malacañang. He was part of the final voting process.

President Noynoy Aquino did not make inclusions, all right, but did he insulate the National Artist award from partisan politics? The answer may be in the negative. Whatever his reasons were, he played politics.

Was it the drug addiction case in the United States?

Was it Nora’s topsy-turvy personal life that Mr. Aquino fears may not provide for a good role model for Filipinos?

There is irony there. Mr. Aquino only needs to look at his own family backyard.

Nora Aunor was stricken off the list because she campaigned for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the previous presidential election. Remember the so-called mole-on-the-face look-alike?

Mr. Aquino has just done an Arroyo: He toyed with politics in the National Artist award. Put that in the history books.

Lawyer: Nora Aunor was never convicted of drug use By Nestor Corrales | INQUIRER.netJuly 1, 2014 | 2:41 pm


[Nora Aunor receives the 2013 Ani ng Dangal Award for Cinema from NCCA chairman Felipe de Leon Jr. STAR file photo MANILA, Philippines — Nora Aunor's lawyer on Tuesday denied that the actress was convicted of drug use as claimed by President Benigno Aquino III. In a post on her Facebook account, lawyer Claire Navarro Espina said Aunor had no drug conviction. "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," Espina said. "This issue just needs to get corrected and then let it die down and the re-application process (for National Artist award) to begin," the lawyer also said in a Facebook comment. PHILSTAR]

MANILA, Philippines (INQUIRER)—After President Benigno Aquino III admitted that drugs was the reason why he rejected Nora Aunor’s nomination as National Artist for film, her lawyer on Tuesday said the actress was never convicted of a crime involving narcotics.

“Nora Aunor was never convicted of a crime, let alone a crime involving drugs here in Los Angeles. I was the attorney who represented her,” lawyer Claire Navarro-Espina said in a Facebook post.

Meanwhile, broadcast journalist Cecilia “Ces” Oreña-Drilon in her Twitter post, said Espina told her in a text message that “there was never a conviction which means she is not a convicted person.”

Espina added that the actress was arrested for possession of paraphernalia and methamphetamine in 2005 in Los Angeles and was entered into a diversion program and successfully completed it.

According to her, the case was dismissed in 2007.

The lawyer deplored about the “misinformation” of the issue in the Philippines.

FROM THE DAILY COURIER
[
The Daily Courier is the Central Okanagan's longest-serving and most trusted news source, published seven days a week.]

Aquino: Honoring Aunor would be wrong drug message

Philippine president says honouring actress Aunor would send wrong message about drugs


KC JF**LON** TT**TOK** Philippine president says honouring actress Aunor would send wrong message about drugs FILE - In this March 18, 2013 file photo, Philippine actress Nora Aunor poses with her trophy after winning the Best Actress Award of her movie "Thy Womb" at the Asian Film Awards as part of the 37th Hong Kong International Film Festival in Hong Kong. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III defended Tuesday, July 1, 2014 his decision not to appoint multi-awarded actress Aunor as national artist, saying doing so would send the wrong message that illegal drugs are acceptable. Aquino told reporters he decided to exclude the actress who rose from rags to stardom from this year’s list of national artist appointees because of her previous drug conviction - a detail Aunor’s lawyer says is wrong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine president defended his decision not to appoint award-winning actress Nora Aunor as a national artist, saying Tuesday that doing so would have sent the message that illegal drugs are acceptable.

President Benigno Aquino III told reporters he decided to exclude the actress, who rose from rags to stardom, from this year's list of national artist appointees because of a previous drug conviction — which Aunor's lawyer disputed.

Aquino's explanation came a week after a controversy broke out over the decision, with several national artists and members of a committee that vets nominees expressing outrage. Some called for protests and for a review of the selection process.

"The National Artist honour is given because we want to say this person contributed a lot to the Filipino race and should be emulated," Aquino said. "But my problem with that is ... Ms. Nora Aunor was convicted for drugs."

* He said he respects Aunor's contributions to the film industry but does not "want to send a message that sometimes illegal drugs are acceptable; the message should be it is always bad and illegal."

Aunor's lawyer, Claire Navarro Espina, said the actress, who was then living in the United States, was arrested in 2005 at Los Angeles airport for a drug-related offence but was never convicted and the case was later dismissed.

She said a bag in Aunor's name which the actress did not pack was found to have a glass pipe that showed traces of methamphetamine. The actress was travelling with four assistants at the time. Espina said she was not aware of any other drug convictions.

The case was dismissed in 2007 after Aunor satisfied the terms of California's drug diversion program and all her random drug tests were negative, Espina added. The diversion program provides education and treatment instead of jail time and a criminal record for alleged drug users.

Aunor, 61, came from an impoverished family in eastern Camarines Sur province and used to sell water in the train station in her hometown. She later won singing contests and began a movie career in the 1960s, winning dozens of best actress awards.

She has made nearly 200 movies, including many considered to be classics in Philippine cinema.

YEAR 2005 NEWS FROM FROM THE ASIAN JOURNAL

Nora Aunor ordered to undergo detox in US clinic By Jose Katigbak, STAR Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON, PS, 12/24/2005 - Nora Aunor, one of the Philippines’ most popular film and music stars, was set to enroll in a year-long drug detoxification program that, if successful, would let her avoid jail.

“Nora will be going through a program requiring much introspection and discipline,” her lawyers from the law firm Edelberg & Espina said in a statement released here yesterday.

Aunor’s lawyers said she gave up the fight after nearly nine months of vigorously contesting charges of felony drug possession filed against her by United States authorities who recommended that she enrol in the drug treatment program.

“This is a challenging process for anyone and more particularly for Nora, who is far away from her country and her family, especially during this Christmas season,” they added.

Aunor’s lawyers, who included Claire Espina, said the court-supervised drug treatment program involves counseling, education and other therapeutic interventions. This is available to non-violent first-time drug offenders and keeps them out of jail.

“While attending this program, Nora remains free to go about her business, unencumbered in her movements,” they said.
Aunor’s lawyers urged the media and the public to “accord (her) the time, space and privacy to enable her to complete this self-imposed endeavor, free from intrusion and undue interference.”

Aunor, 53, was arrested March 30 at Los Angeles International Airport after security screeners allegedly found 7.7 grams of methamphetamine and a glass pipe in her handbag. She was on her way back to her San Francisco Bay area home after a business trip to Los Angeles.

She pleaded not guilty to the charge and posted $10,000 bail.

Aunor was bound over for arraignment and trial when a judge at a preliminary hearing ruled there was probable cause to believe she was in possession of methamphetamine when police arrested her.

Espina said since Aunor was cleared by Customs officers to leave Oakland for Los Angeles, it meant the actress did not have any drugs with her.

Espina wondered how the drugs appeared in Aunor’s bag when she never left the airport during the two hours she was there to consult with business associates.

Lawyers not directly involved with the case said once Aunor completes the program, the original charges will be dismissed and there will be no record of her having been charged with a drug offense in the US.

Aunor, whose real name is Nora Cabaltera Villamayor, will receive counseling and treatment at a live-in or outpatient center and will undergo frequent drug tests, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office in Los Angeles.

Her criminal case will be dismissed if she completes the program by remaining drug-free for at least six months, Robison said.

Aunor is in the US on an “01” visa, which enables people with extraordinary abilities in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics to stay and work for a set period of time.

It was not immediately known if her voluntary enrollment in the drug program would have consequences on her immigration status. She is believed to have a pending application for a “green card” that gives its holder permanent residency status in the US.

Aunor’s decision to enroll in the program came as the prosecution pushed for a trial no later than early January despite her lawyers’ contentions that the actress had not been read her “Miranda rights” during police questioning nor was a Filipino interpreter made available to her.

“Nora believes the education and experience she will receive from this program will enable her to be in a position of assistance to others who may need it,” her lawyers said.

They also said Aunor wanted her fans to know that their unceasing support has been a constant source of comfort and inspiration to her.

“In compliance with the program and on the advice of her counsel, Nora Aunor will not be making any statement regarding this matter,” her lawyers said.

Aunor’s arrest on drug charges in Los Angeles is the latest in a string of controversies surrounding her more than 30 years in show business.

Known as “The Superstar” to her fans, she has appeared in more than 170 films and recorded more than two dozen albums, including scores of hit singles. On screen, she has starred with leading men of her time, including ousted President Joseph Estrada, a former actor. — With AP, AFP

FROM PHILSTAR

Nora: In the heart of Pinoys, I am an artist By Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 1, 2014 - 12:00am 3 416 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Breaking her silence, movie superstar Nora Aunor yesterday admitted feeling hurt over being snubbed for the National Artist award.

But she expressed gratitude for the expressions of support and said she was happy to see that in the heart of Filipinos, she is seen as an artist.

“I admit that I was hurt by the incident. But the outpouring of support that I saw and felt from my kababayans – those people I worked with in the industry, my fans, friends, priests and nuns, teachers and others from the academy, from the media, national artists, ordinary citizens here and abroad – is enough for me to feel that even if I did not get any trophy or was not recognized by those in power, in the hearts of my kababayans I am an artist,” the veteran actress said in a statement.

“I would like to say thank you to all the people who have supported me and continue to support me on this issue regarding the National Artist Awards,” she added.

She said the honor given to her by the Filipino people is more valuable than being declared a National Artist.

Aunor also assured the public that she continues to hone her craft in acting to please them.

She said the people who believe in her inspire her to improve her skills, make her work harder and make her a better and dignified Filipino citizen.

National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) legal counsel Trixie Cruz-Angeles assured Aunor they understood her sentiments.

“We reassure (Aunor) that on our part, NCCA and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) were the ones who recommended her name as a National Artist. So while we feel for her, we stand by our decision that we would recommend her and let us (see) what future actions can be taken to address this kind of situation,” she said.

* She said they are considering re-submitting Aunor’s name to Malacañang. However, she said the move has yet to be agreed upon and voted by the NCCA’s board of commissioners and the CCP’s board of trustees.

“Usually the cycle of the National Artists is every two to three years, so the joint NCCA and CCP boards would still have to decide whether they would submit right away or submit in the next cycle, so without that decision we still do not know,” she added.

Only Aunor was excluded from the list submitted by the NCCA and the CCP to Malacañang.

President Aquino on June 20 declared six outstanding Filipinos as national artists. They are Alice Reyes (dance), Francisco Coching (visual arts), Cirilo Bautista (literature), Francisco Feliciano (music), Ramon Santos (music) and Jose Maria Zaragoza (architecture, design and allied arts).

FROM ABS-CBN

Palace: Nora Aunor pleaded guilty in drug case By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
Posted at 07/02/2014 4:33 PM | Updated as of 07/02/2014 7:36 PM


PALACE SPOKESMAN

MANILA - A Palace official on Wednesday backed up President Aquino's decision not to proclaim film superstar Nora Aunor a National Artist because of her past drug conviction.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda disputed claims Aunor is not an illegal drugs convict.

"By the way, Noranian ako. I think si Ms. Nora Aunor pleaded guilty.

Because she pled guilty, nag-deferred entry of judgment. Sa batas ng Amerika, merong ganung proseso na hindi tulad sa atin sa Pilipinas 'pag dito nangyari 'yan, nag-plead ka guilty, you will be - may karampatang parusa na," he said.

"Sa Amerika, nag-plead siya ng guilty, tapos nagkaroon ng deferred entry of judgment provided that you undergo rehab. Iyon po iyong nangyari doon sa situation ni Ms. Nora Aunor."

Lacierda again reiterated President Aquino's reasons not to name Aunor as National Artist because of her past with illegal drugs.

* "I think the overall purpose really of the President is iyong sinabi niya kahapon. What is the message I am saying if, on one hand, I am against drug use and this will happen? I suppose, iba iyong pananaw niya sa iba," he said.

Atty. Claire Espina earlier clarified that Aunor did not have a drug conviction in America, adding that there was no judgment in her case.

“Nora Aunor was never convicted. This is not accurate nor is it factual. There was a deferred judgment, which means there is no conviction because there is no judgment,” she said.

In 2005, Aunor was arrested at Los Angeles Airport when drug paraphernalia were discovered in a bag with her name.

According to Espina, the bag was not even packed by the actress herself.

Aunor was traveling with four companions when she was detained.

After facing the charges in a Los Angeles court, Aunor completed a diversion program and the case was dismissed in 2007.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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