CLARK AIR BASE, PAMPANGA: President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Tuesday admitted that the drug case of award-winning actress Nora Aunor was the reason why he did not accept her nomination for National Artist.
Aquino believes that individuals who are proclaimed as National Artists are those who have contributed greatly to the Filipino race and those who can be considered as role models.
“We all know I respect Ms. Nora Aunor. My only problem was her drug conviction,” Aquino said, referring to Aunor’s arrest in 2005, when she was stopped at the Los Angeles International Airport for alleged possession of drugs paraphernalia and illegal drugs eventually identified as methamphetamine.
“She was convicted and punished, and the question here is if we make her a National Artist, is there a message we are sending to the people?” he said.
Aunor was eventually cleared in 2007, after she went through a rehabilitation program, and after her drug test came out negative.
The President acknowledged this, but said an award for Aunor may send the wrong message that drug use is acceptable.
“I don’t want there to be a message that sometimes, illegal drugs is okay or acceptable. The message I want to send is it is always bad and illegal drugs do nobody any good,” Aquino said.
“I cannot emphasize that message enough and at the same time, raise Ms. Nora Aunor as the National Artist,” he added.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE