Too bad for Caparas and Alvarez, the conferment of the title is as tainted as the electoral victory of the one who conferred the title.

When the new set of National Artists were announced, I wondered who Magno Carlo J. Caparas was – I thought he was Carlo Caparas, the master of massacre films and bromance films; finding the name of Cecile Alvarez was somehow “off” to me. True enough, some people had started protesting the announcement, and then it was disclosed that four names were inserted (including Caparas’ and Alvarez’s names) in the list of recommendations by NCCA and CCP, and one name was dropped.

Amidst mounting protests by National Artists and other artists, Alvarez and Caparas mounted a defensive through a barrage of media interview and press conferences and mouthfuls and mud slinging, even reducing the discussion to a class war. Even proxies of the two had entered the fray, adding their artistically thought-off explanations and rationalizations. I will not argue anymore about what the defenders had said; the artists have spoken, and I have nothing more to add; besides, I am just a rambling old man.

But what I had learned from this issue is a reinforcement of what I have been observing since 2005 – the slow death of values that has governed our conduct as citizens of this country. To find an honest person nowadays is like playing Contra – you’d need the Konami code to find one. The problem is that being honest does not pay. Our system of values is being corrupted. It will be overthrown soon.

Only a few people can define what delicadeza is. Alvarez’ main defense is that delicadeza does not apply on her (what arrogance) since she was not part of the selection process. Not only she does not understand the concept, she saw herself as beyond it, just like the person who conferred the title – she is beyond the reach of the rule of law by supplanting it with rule by law. No amount of prohibition from applicable laws will deter these two from having what they think are theirs – for Alvarez, the title of National Artist, for Arroyo, the presidency.

There are reasons why there are rules. In this case, it is to make sure that people get the title through merit. With the exercise of presidential prerogative, Caparas’ and Alvarez’s victory is tainted with doubts of political payback. Just like how Hello Garci tainted Arroyo’s electoral victory.


One more reason why I think ours is a monarchy disguised as a republic – the exercise of presidential prerogative sounds like what a monarch will do. Long live the Queen!