MANILA, Philippines -- Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chairperson Grace Poe-Llamanzares hinted that Dolphy's endorsement of her father Fernando Poe Jr. during the 2004 presidential elections cost the the country's "King of Comedy" the National Artist Award.
"He [Dolphy] suffered a lot for the [FPJ] endorsement because the past [Arroyo] administration, they were a bit vengeful. There were some exchange of words to the point of [Dolphy] saying, 'I'm sorry, Madam, if I hurt your feelings,'" she said in an interview on ANC's "Headstart" on Wednesday.
|FPJ and Dolphy (Composite Photo)
Llamanzares joined the public clamor to proclaim the veteran actor, who passed away on Tuesday night, a National Artist, saying Dolphy would love to get the recognition for his children.
She also said it's never too late to bestow the recognition to Dolphy.
"Sabi nga 'anhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo. Pero if you look at the life of Dolphy, he always wanted to provide for his family, he always wanted to make his his family proud ...I think he knew that he deserves the National Artist Award. At least for his memory and for his children, he would be happy to have that," Llamanzares said.
"Even if he's not around to physically receive it, he deserves that and for his children to be called children of a National Artist, I'm sure he would want to give them that. So it's not too late if you ask me," she said.
The friendship between Dolphy and the Poe family goes back a long way. In fact, Dolphy was discovered by Fernando Poe Sr. for a theater production.
"There's long history from the very beginning, so he always looked at my dad like a family because he started out with Fernando Poe Sr. Although they (Dolphy and FPJ) didn't see each other often because of the age difference, they were not really barkada in that sense but whenever there's a major undertaking for either one of them, the other showed support," she said.
"In my particular experience in showbiz, there are lot of people you meet everyday, but there are not many friends that you can really count on, that you can consider true friends and one of them is Dolphy, a really sincere friend to FPJ," Llamanzares said.
Dolphy once again showed his loyalty as a friend when Poe decided to run in the 2004 presidential elections.
"He (FPJ) purposely didn't call his friends in showbiz to campaign for him. I mean he could have easily done so, calling in the favor, but no. He was very careful not to oblige them to campaign for him. But Dolphy wouldn't hear any of it and said 'Hindi, kung ayaw mo basta sasama ako sa sa iyo.' So he went around with my dad. Definitely for my dad, there was no talent fee, he just went around," she said.
Llamanzares also said she can never forget the time when Dolphy rushed to their home after Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was proclaimed the winner in the 2004 election.
"The very first guest of FPJ was Dolphy in the house, they were both in shorts. I remember I saw him there. ...They didn't say much to each other, they were just sort of patted each other," she recalled.
"I thought that was a really touching moment because Dolphy never goes to our house. I mean they see each other in parties but that day, he was there. I can never forget that," said Llamanzares.
She stressed that Dolphy deserves to be given the National Artist Award for his contributions to entertainment industry.
"It's really embarrassing that we have to think twice about it. Definitely as I always say, if he doesn't deserve it, who else does?" she said.
"We just have to follow the process and I respect the President (Benigno Aquino III) because he said, 'No, there's a process for National Artist Award,' whereas before she (Arroyo) just wanted to use it for a political gain," she said.
Follow the process
Llamanzares said when her father was still in a coma, Arroyo "sent an emisaary saying that 'we will declare him a National Artist.'"
"Of course, we were appalled because my family was like 'but there's a process. Maybe you have that authority but we would rather go through proper channels and this is being voted by your peers.' So eventually the NCCA (National Commission of Culture and the Arts) and the CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines) group they chose FPJ to be a National Artist with the defense of National Artist Eddie Romero and Boots Anson-Roa with their presenation," she said.
"But then the ceremony was actually in Malacañang and the award was given there so we didn't go there to accept it. But we went to the CCP celebration to acknowledge the artists who gave it," she said.
Poe, who died from cerebral thrombosis and multiple organ failure in 2004, was posthumously honored as a National Artist in 2006.