Surprising Reasons of PNoy in Denying Nora’s National Artist Title

When President Benigno Aquino III vetoed against Nora Aunor’s nomination on the National Artist title, many people were appalled and dared to question why. It actually took him a while to reason out that Nora was “convicted and arrested” for drug abuse in the United States. The previous reason he gave the masses was the “I am the president” line.

Aquino recently made a statement in an interview after the anniversary celebration of the Philippine Air Force in Pampanga that although he respects Nora Aunor and her works but to reconsider her will bring the “fact” that the country has a zero tolerance for drugs down.

There are several things that one should note on Nora’s “drug case”, as clarified by her lawyer. One, it was stated that she has an unblemished record in the United States; she was never sentenced in any U.S. jurisdiction and hence, was never convicted. Neither has she spent time in jail nor did she go to a rehab. She undergo and passed in 40 random drug tests, even. Moreover, in the actual incident, the drug in question was 8 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu). The “controlled substance,” Espinosa narrated, was “found in a man’s athletic shoe in her luggage”, which was “packed, handled, and carried by her entourage”. Espinosa said Aunor’s “entourage fled, leaving her, literally, holding the bag”.

Now, speculations among Filipinos against the president arose. One was that the president refused Nora to be nominated as a National Artist because she campaigned for Marcos during the 1986 Snap Elections where she sang the rally song, “We don’t need another Hero” and when she sided with Villar in the 2000 Presidential elections. Another discussion talked about this issue being a smoke screen for the government to divert the Filipinos’ attention away from the PDAF scandal, which recently, is beginning to attack Pnoy’s close allies.

With Nora’s performances from “Bona,” to “Minsay Isang Gamu-gamo,” to “Merika,” and of course, to “Himala” and many more, she has become an icon, her works known as authentic and meaningful. She isn’t perfect, that is true, all the more so that other Filipinos can well relate to her life story. The thing is, whether or not the issue about Nora’s drug incident is true (although, it has been proven false); the reasons behind our president’s reasons have become questionable to more and more Filipinos. Can the masses really trust someone who has just lied straight-out with his basis as groundless? The answer will be up to the Filipinos, whether they act or stay passive—yet again.