Caparas, Guidote, Malacañang defend National Artist Awards selection

Cecile Guidote Alvarez, and Carlo J.Caparas insist that they do deserve to be National Artists. Malacañang agrees.

Cecile Guidote Alvarez and Carlo J.Caparas insist that they do deserve to be National Artists. Malacañang agrees.

Cecile Guidote alvarez
Cecile Guidote Alvarez

"Before you make judgment, read my achievements first as an artist. Was I an idiot before I became a National Artist?" Alvarez said in reaction to protests from fellow artists who are questioning her new title, reports gmanews.tv.

The head of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (or NCCA, which chooses the candidates for the National Artist Awards) enumerated previous awards to state her case : a 1972 Ramon Magsaysay public service award for the arts, the CCP Gawad Sining Award for Literature and the Outstanding Women in the Nation's Services.

As to accusations about her closeness to President Arroyo, she said the President never talked to her about the award.   She  also denied lobbying for the award, and cited the Presidential prerogative to include artists in the NCCA and CCP shortlist.

A look at the guidelines for nomination of National Artists in the NCCA website, however, reveals this basic rule: "5.NCCA and CCP Board members and consultants and NCCA and CCP officers and staff are automatically disqualified from being nominated."

Carlo J. Caparas
Carlo J. Caparas

Meanwhile, Caparas said about his critics, "They cannot take the award from me anymore," reports abscbn.com. "...Ganyan talaga kung may something for grabs. E, iisa lang ang pipiliin. Sana, maghintay na lang sila ng tamang panahon sa gusto nilang manalo. Hindi naman ito palakasan," said the movie director who is famous for making pito-pito (movies shot in one week).

Caparas speculated that his being younger than most National Artists may have something to do with the controversy. "Baka ang nasa isip nila ay bata pa ako. Pero hindi naman 'yon ang basehan. Sino naman ang ko-contest sa decision ng Cultural Center, ng NCCA at ng Malacañang tungkol sa award na ito? Mabuti na nga at ngayon pa lang ay ibinibigay na ang ganitong award sa mga taong nandito. Ang akala kasi nila ay sa matatanda o sa beterano o sa mga patay na ibinibigay ang ganitong award," Caparas said.

His wife, actress-producer Donna Villa, compared Caparas' current persecution to that of Jesus Christ's. "Even Jesus Christ was criticized because of his boldness to save mankind from sins," she said, adding, "'Yang mga critics na 'yan, wala namang nagagawa ang mga 'yan. Magtigil na nga sila. Patunayan muna nila ang nagawa ni Carlo sa komiks at sa pelikula. Kahit sa TV."

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Villa also attributed Caparas' award to his mass appeal.  "Sino ba naman sa mga naging National Artist Award na ang nakakasama sa kalye ng mga tao? Si Carlo lang 'yon. Kasi, masang-masa si Carlo dahil naaabot niya ang mga pangkaraniwang tao. Well, of course, si Fernando Poe, Jr. pero patay na siya nang bigyan siya ng award," she said. Villa also revealed Caparas' attire for the awarding ceremony: his trademark baseball cap and jeans, so that the masses can relate.

Malacañang also defended its choices for the awards. In response to accusations of politicking, Acting Executive Secretary and Presidential political adviser Gabriel Claudio said,  "I think we can defend [their] track record and qualifications and reasons [for their selection},"  reports gmanews.tv. He said the awardees went through "a thorough process,"and that they "stand by the qualifications, qualities, track record and reputation of those named as National Artists."

Watch Caparas' reaction to his victory as well as those of two former actors in his movies, Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla on GMA'S 24 Oras:


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