Busted: The NCCA head is not appointed but elected, so what was Aguilar saying?

Singer Freddie Aguilar claimed that President Rodrigo Duterte, through executive assistant Bong Go, offered him to head the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). He said the offer came after he asked the president to create a new department in the cultural agency to start a “cultural revolution. The “Anak” hitmaker said he will accept Duterte’s offer.

However, the current NCCA chairman Felipe de Leon denied Aguilar’s appointment.


“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,” said de Leon in a text message to BusinessWorld.

We checked RA 7356 and de Leon could be referring to Section 9 of the law.

RA 7356 Section 9

De Leon also has a message, indirect as it maybe, to Aguilar when he said in his text message, “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?”

As for what Aguilar claimed as an offer from Duterte to appoint him as the next NCCA head, de Leon said, “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.”

BusinessWorld noted that they reached out to Malacañang for comment, but was met with a “no info yet” response from Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.

It’s true, though, that word about the NCCA appointment only came from Aguilar, not from the president himself or even from his executive assistant. So, was the singer lying or was Duterte’s camp unaware of the election process needed to choose the next NCCA chairman? Which is which?


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