Film director Carlos J. Caparas and three others have been stripped of their title as national artists in the Philippines, the Supreme Court (SC) announced on Tuesday.
SC Public Information Office head Theodore Te confirmed that the decision to invalidate former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s orders was handed down in open court on Tuesday.
But Te clarified the High Court has yet to formally promulgate the decision of SC justices, who voted 12-1-2 to “set aside” Arroyo’s National Artist Award conferment to Caparas.
Te said SC Associate Justice Arturo Brion, who is on medical leave, was not able to cast his vote while SC Associate Justices Mariano del Castillo and Marvic Leonen abstained.
Leonen served as two of the counsels for the group of national artists who questioned Arroyo’s proclamation orders.
In 2009, Malacanang made Caparas as a national artist for Film, Cecilia Guidote-Alvarez for Theater, Francisco Manosa for Architecture, and Jose “Pitoy” Moreno for Fashion Design.
But Benedicto Cabrera, Philippine National Artist for Visual Arts and Painting, described Arroyo’s list as a mockery for including her vocal supporters like Caparas.
Cabrera and other national artists argued the 2009 recipients of Arroyo’s National Artist Award were not even among the nominees shortlisted by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) almost four years ago.
They said the NCCA CCP nominated Lazaro Francisco (posthumous for Literature), Dr. Ramon Santos (for Music), Manuel Conde (posthumous for Film and Broadcast), and Federico Aguilar Alcuaz (for Visual Arts, Painting, Sculpture, and Mixed Media).
Citing SC decision, Te explained the former president, who has been re-elected as representative of Pampanga’s second district, was found to have gravely abused her discretion in naming the National Artists.
The Proclamation Nos. 1826, 1827, 1828 and 1829 that conferred the prestigious title to the four artists, Te said, manifested preferential treatment to the four artists.