President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III leads the nation in mourning for the comedy king, Dolphy, who passed away Tuesday night after a long bout with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
In a statement, Aquino extended his condolences and acknowledged that Dolphy was the embodiment of hope amid trials.
"Sa loob ng mahabang panahon, ipinakita sa atin ni Dolphy na anumang pagsubok ay may katuwang na pag-asa at ligaya; mulat siyang anumang problema ay mapangingibabawan ng positibong pagtanaw sa kapalaran. [For a long time, Dolphy showed us that we can surpass trials. He was aware of hardships but taught all of us to always look at the brighter side]," Aquino said.
He also noted that Dolphy changed not only the movie industry.
"Binago niya hindi lamang ang kaniyang industriya, kundi maging ang pambansang kamalayan: sa pamamagitan ng kaniyang sining, pinalawak ni Dolphy ang ating pananaw, at binigyan tayo ng kakayahang suriin, pahalagahan, at hanapan ng ngiti ang mga pang-araw-araw na pangyayari sa buhay ng bawat Pilipino," Aquino said.
The President added that the good-hearted Dolphy symbolized a typical Filipino: joyful, one who loves well, who knows how to respect others, and knows how to face trials.
"Nagmula siya sa isang henerasyong dumaan sa maraming pagsubok—at sa pakikipagsapalaran ay natutong maging mapagpakumbaba, matapat, at matulungin. Hindi kailanman niya tinalikuran ang mga kaibigan, at ang sambayanang naging bukal ng kanyang mga tagumpay," he added.
"Nakikiisa ako at ang aking pamilya, sampu ng ating mga kasamahan sa gobyerno, sa pagluluksa ng Pamilya Quizon ngayong gabi. Ang pagpanaw ni Rodolfo Quizon Sr.—ang nag-iisang Hari ng Komedya—ay tiyak na nagdudulot ng lumbay sa isang bansang matagal niyang pinasaya," the President added.
Last June, Malacanang was urged by Vice President Jejomar Binay, among other groups, to name Dolphy a "National Artist" but the comedy king did not live to see the day.
The National Artist Award is the "highest national recognition given to Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts," according to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
Apart from the prestige and a medal, a National Artist is entitled to material and physical benefits that includes a monthly pension, hospitalization benefits, and arrangements and expenses for a state funeral. For post-humous awardees, legal heirs are entitled to P75,000.
Should Dolphy be officially nominated, his candidacy will still have to undergo several deliberations by the Commissioners of the NCCA and the Board of Trustees of the CCP.
Taiwan on Saturday protested to the Philippines for sending naval ships to disputed South China Sea islands in the latest diplomatic spat between the two governments.