NCCA chairman Felipe de Leon: “The position of NCCA chairman is not appointive”

  • NCCA chairman Felipe de Leon reacted to Freddie Aguilar’s appointment as NCCA chief
  • He said the position is not appointive
  • He said if Pres. Duterte will appoint Aguilar, it would be patently illegal
  • He explained that the chairman is elected by the Board of Commissioners

After Freddie Aguilar revealed a few days ago that he accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer to become the head of the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCAA), current NCCA chairman Felipe de Leon clarified that the position isn’t appointive and went on to explain how someone can become the head of the cultural agency.

In a text message he sent to Business World, de Leon said: “The position of NCCA chairman is not appointive, according to Republic Act 7356. The chairman is elected by the Board of Commissioners. There are four levels of elections — general assembly, committee membership, committee chairmanship, and head of a subcommission — before you can be a member of the Board, who will then elect its Chair. The committee members are fiercely independent artists and cultural workers who will always like to choose their own leaders.

I think it is better to treat these rumors with skepticism. He might be severely disappointed. Are you sure he will win all five levels of democratic election?

The President has not made any formal announcement that he has appointed Mr. Aguilar. Doing that would be patently illegal. I suppose the President will respect the law.”

In an interview with ABS-CBN News’ Mario Dumaual, Ka Freddie disclosed he requested President Duterte to create a department of culture and the arts, but he was asked by the latter to head the NCCA instead until his requested department is created.

He said that the president’s assistant, Bong Go, asked him as instructed by President Duterte: “Sir Freddie, hangga’t wala pa po iyong department of culture and the arts na hinihingi po ninyo sa presidente ay puwede po bang kayo po muna ang mamahala sa NCCA?”

[Sir Freddie, until the department of culture and the arts that you requested is created, the president is asking if you can lead the NCCA?]

Without hesitation, Ka Freddie, as reports say, accepted the offer and said: “Sabi ko, ‘Sige, kung iyong ang ia-assign sa akin ng presidente, gagawin ko iyon muna.”

[Okay. If that’s what the president wants to assign to me, I’ll do it.]

According to an article published by Coconuts Manila, Ka Freddie said that despite the NCCA being a huge department, we haven’t heard of it having a project that made a huge impact on our culture.

He said: “Napakalaking departamento pala noon, pero wala tayong nababalitaang major na ginawa nila para sa kultura at sining natin. Mula noong panahon ni Marcos, hanggang ngayon.”

[“It’s such a huge department, but we haven’t heard that it had a major project that made an impact on our culture, from the time of Marcos until now.]