Nora, Vilma Rivalry Dividing Bishops

MANILA, Philippines - Catholic prelates are split on the proposal to make Nora Aunor or Vilma Santos as national artist.

Out of the six prelates that were informally sur¬veyed, one bishop - Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes - vot¬ed for "Nora."
"I select and en¬dorse Nora as na¬tional artist now!" he said in a text message.

Bastes, mem¬ber of the Perma¬nent Council of the Catholic Bish¬ops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said he was particularly impressed with the performance of the "superstar" in the movie "Himala".

He said "Vilma" could be declared as national artist years later.

Two prelates, on the other hand, are in favor of making both as national art¬ists.

"Honor them both. They repre¬sent the divide be¬tween the Filipino crowd. The 'bakya' and the 'sapatos' crowds," Baguio Bishop Carlito Cen¬zon said.

Malolos Bish¬op Jose Oliveros agreed with Cen¬zon, saying both artists are deserv¬ing of such title.

"Both can be made as national artist. Perhaps, this will not require an act of Congress. An Executive Order would do should President Aquino agree with it," he said.

The three re¬maining bishops, however, chose not to comment on the matter, saying it is not their expertise.

The three bish¬ops were retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, and Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutier¬rez.

Earlier, House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo "Erin" Ta¬ñada initiated calls to declare Vilma Santos as a national artist after Bacolod City Rep. Anthony Golez filed a reso¬lution seeking the proclamation of Nora Aunor of the same title.

Tañada said Santos equally deserves to be a national artist for her contribution in lifting the film in¬dustry by captur-ing the hearts of Filipino moviegoers when she competed against Aunor dur¬ing the 1970s.

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