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Komiks writer and filmmaker Carlo J. Caparas has recently been named National Artist for Visual Arts and Film. News report here.

I will not say in this particular post whether Carlo J. Caparas deserves the title of National Artist or not, for that will be a subjective argument.

Here, I will remain objective and stick to the facts.

Carlo J. Caparas is simply not qualified to be given the National Artist Award, for the very least \”Visual Art\”, and here are my reasons.

It is clear that \”Visual Arts\” and \”Film\” are two different categories. Therefore, \”Visual Arts\” refer to Carlo\’s work in comics. Carlo is a writer. He has never illustrated any of his comics stories, least of all his most popular ones. Panday and Pieta? They were illustrated by Steve Gan. Bakekang? It was illustrated by Mar Santana. Kroko? Illustrated by Hal Santiago. Totoy Bato? Illustrated by Tor Infante.

In the guidelines for selection of National Artist for Visual Artists, it clearly states:

Visual Arts – painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, installation art, mixed media works, illustration, graphic arts, performance art and/or imaging;

How can someone who is not an illustrator, therefore *NOT* a visual artist ever be named National Artist for Visual Arts? If Carlo should ever be given this title, the title should be shared with all the artists he collaborated with, for that is the nature of comics. It is a collaborative medium as Carlo himself points out many times during his talks.

If not, then this title should be removed, as it is not factually descriptive of who he is.


37 Responses to “Bottom Line: Carlo J. Caparas is NOT Qualified”

  1. Pinoy Comics USA on July 31st, 2009 10:18 am

    They just invented a new category – Visual Arts, Film. And that’s right, I’ve never heard of this before. Film is film. Visual Arts is for painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, other visual arts.
    They could probably argue that film is visual too.

  2. Arno on July 31st, 2009 12:33 pm
  3. Gerry Alanguilan on July 31st, 2009 1:38 pm

    Galit na si Bencab. Magcocomment sana ako, pero andun na pala ang comment ko.

  4. Gerry Alanguilan on July 31st, 2009 2:45 pm

    I have to reiterate. No anonymous comments. As to what I consider anonymous, and why I’m hard assed about this, click here.

  5. auggie on July 31st, 2009 7:27 pm


    Bagong category ba ? di dagdagan na nila. Eto: NATIONAL KNOCK-OUT ARTIST AWARD, para ki PACMAN, tutal mas global ang impact ni Manny kumpara ki CJC, at klarong -klaro ang national pride natin sa kanya.

    “Nabababoy yung sistema. Pati ako bumaba ang tingin ko sa sarili ko.” said a pissed -off Virgilio Almario, National Artist for Literature, in an interview with BusinesWorld, referring to the recent fiasco. Alam pala ni Almario, yung Dagdag-Bawas list. Mas marami pa raw yung DAGDAG, kesa sa original list, 4 to 3 daw ang ratio. In short, mas nanaig yung PALAKASAN kesa sa MERITS.

  6. Pinoy Comics USA on July 31st, 2009 10:10 pm

    Tama pala ako, ayun doon sa news kay Bencab. Si Alejandro Roces was also Presidentially proclaimed kaya yung unang news, he was announced to have won in Visual Arts. They later changed it to Literature upon learning he was a playwright. He of course deserved it in Literature not Visual Arts.
    As as I said, that’s the problem when the award does not go through proper channels, the people awarding it don’t know anything. The above is a prime example.

    Lalong ma-pi-pissoff si Almario if they change Caparas’ title to Literature, once they find out he can’t even draw. And not Film either, because it’s going to be an insult to such filmmakers as Conde, Brocka or Bernal.

    Ah, Pilipinas kong mahal, you’re never lacking in excitement.

  7. Pinoy Comics USA on July 31st, 2009 11:14 pm

    And from Leo Martinez:

    Leo Martinez, Director General of the Film Academy of the Philippines also expressed his bewilderment over the changes, saying, “He (Carlo J. Caparas) was obviously added by the Malacanang. We did not nominate him. We guess it’s a presidential prerogative. We feel bad, I mean, we have no questions about Manuel Conde pero tinalo ni Caparas yung ni-recommend namin, si Celso Castillo. Walang comparison sa body of works and we didn’t mind that Celso lost to Conde. Saka bakit 2 (ang awardee) for visual arts? Pinilit lang yon, siningit lang yon.” He says the Film Academy of the Philippines is currently “trying to come up with a statement saying just that.”

    Martinez will likewise boycott the awarding ceremony. “I was at UP last night and the sentiment was the same. I’m sure not to attend the awarding ceremony,” he said.

  8. Pinoy Comics USA on August 1st, 2009 4:28 am

    I have been thinking, (and thinking) about this, and it’s probably sacrilegious to even mention it in your web site, I will probably get a lot of flak for even suggesting it. You are vehemently against Caparas winning the National Artist award (I am right behind you on this) yet, if you want to be really objective, think about these: Caparas is in the comics world, the same as you, Coching, the Dean of Komiks illustrators and novelist as well, was already twice-nominated but lost out because supposedly komiks is a minor art and not deserving of a National Artist Award. Now Caparas, by winning, has opened the floodgates, so to speak, for everyone in the komiks world – the komiks novelists, the Ravelos, the Cochings, the Gomez’s, as well as illustrators, the Redondos, the Alcalas etc. to have a chance at a National Artist Award. Even during this current uproar, all these artists and writers are being constantly mentioned, where previously they’ve been forgotten. The National Artist panel will have to seriously think about adding a new category: Visual Arts in Komiks or Literature in Komiks. Shouldn’t you be thankful to him instead? Just thinking and please bullshit me all you want for even thinking it.

  9. Gerry Alanguilan on August 1st, 2009 7:25 am

    Rod, I’ve actually been thinking along similar lines. But I fear that the damage might already been done. I fear that because of this, the National Artists we have now might be turned off by this whole ugly incident, and komiks is at the very heart of it. Keep in mind that Caparas was a SNAG (Singit National Artist ni Gloria). Bienvenido Lumbera said explicitly they never added him. Keep in mind as well that these are the same National Artists that kept Coching from getting the title many times. GMA had to wield her powers just to get a komiks guy in. With our without Caparas, Coching and Alcala still have a slim chance of getting the title through the rigorous process of the NCCA and CCP. If another komiks guy gets in, it would have to be another president wielding his or her power over the selection process, as GMA did for Caparas. And like this, it would be a victory that’s hollow.

  10. Gerry Alanguilan on August 1st, 2009 7:29 am

    You have to understand, Rod, that there is still a very deep seated prejudice against comics in the artists community here in the Philippines. Many of these fine artists believe comics are cheap and that for anyone of these komikeros to get the National Artist title would be a travesty and would raise a stink about it. This incident, I believe, would not open doors for us, but make the door even tighter… with added locks.

  11. Pinoy Comics USA on August 1st, 2009 9:08 am

    That’s a whole field of debate, that I think has gone through all possible nuances of discussion here in your site. Yes, there’s that prejudice, which places you in a kind of quandary. On the one hand, Caparas, being a comics man, you should be behind him, and happy he had broken that prejudice barrier. But on the other hand, he is just so unqualified for that award, that you are so vehemently against it. If only Coching had won instead, then everything would have been so easy and right, wouldn’t it?

  12. Gerry Alanguilan on August 1st, 2009 10:35 am

    The thing is Rod, Caparas has *not* broken the prejudice barrier. He got in through other means, bypassing the selection committee that may or may not have that bias to begin with. Coching and Larry Alcala has passed through these people before and they never got in. If they were in the running now, I doubt they could still get in. I’m sorry Rod, no matter what CJC does now, for whatever reason, I will never EVER be behind him. Hell would freeze over, crows would turn white and pigs would fly and I still wouldn’t be behind him. Please remember this because I’d rather not repeat it.

  13. auggie on August 1st, 2009 11:58 am


    We might not be aware of it, but CJC, might well as be THE TROJAN HORSE, that broke the floodgates of the artsy-fartsy crowd, yeah, you have a point there. Kaya lang hindi matanggap si Carlo ng mismong taga Komiks. Iyan ang dilemma. Kahit saan category wala siyang mapasukan eh. Visual Arts, Films, Literature, maraming a-angal. Dapat mi bagong category para sa Komikeros. POP CULTURE ICON AWARD siguro, pwede. Pati nga si Pitoy, eh hindi naman daw artist yun eh, mas deserving pa raw si Salvacion Lim ( SLIMS).

  14. Pinoy Comics USA on August 1st, 2009 12:33 pm

    I applaud everything you’re doing now. I would not want you behind Caparas. You must go with your convictions. I just hope this bears fruit, if not now, maybe in the future.
    You said it better than me, “mismong taga komiks hindi siya matanggap.”

  15. Gerry Alanguilan on August 1st, 2009 2:28 pm

    Auggie, Rod… there is a long history here. My father in law Rudy Florese always refused to work with him when asked. I never really knew the reason. Back in 2003 when I met Steve Gan, I asked if him and CJC would ever do anymore Panday stories. Steve said he didn’t want to draw anymore. He then suggested that he could talk to CJC about the two of us working on new Panday stories. At the time the thought of it excited me. But in subsequent years when I heard all these stories about him from other veterans…and saw for myself through his actions and words in the Komiks Congress, and my experience with Mango, Sterling and all that, it turns out my father in law was right all along.

    People hate CJC because they’re just JEALOUS? I find it funny that when faced with unassailable logic, people with weak arguments always fall back on the age old adage “INGGIT LANG KAYO.” But from what I’ve seen, this simply isn’t true. There are some very valid reasons for why people feel the way the do. During the Pasko ng Komiks at UP two years ago, Pablo Gomez was raring to talk about it. I wish I’d stayed to listen.

  16. Budjette on August 1st, 2009 2:38 pm

    Palace choices of 4 nat’l artists protested

    By Kristine L. Alave, Bayani San Diego Jr.
    Philippine Daily Inquirer


    In his blog, comic book writer and artist Gerry Alanguilan said Caparas’ nomination was a big disrespect to pioneering Filipino illustrators.

    Said Alanguilan: “Carlo J. Caparas is not qualified to be named National Artist for Visual Art. I’m not sure if President GMA was aware when she gave this title, but Caparas is not an illustrator. For every single story he has written, another artist worked with him to draw his story.

    “How can someone who does not draw his stories, especially his most successful ones, ever be named National Artist for Visual Art?”

  17. auggie on August 1st, 2009 8:50 pm


    Komikeros jealous of CJC ? dahil sa yumaman na siya ? I don’t think so, dahil sa malakas siya ki GMA, Manoling Morato, Cecil Guidote ? I don’t think so. Si Pacman, rose from adversity to wealth and prosperity pero hindi kinainggitan at ni-re-resent, bagkus, ipinagmamalaki pa , bakit ? dahil kumayod talaga siya, and on his way up, wala siyang in-agrabyadong tao, which we can’t say about CJC. Ang public perception kasi ki CJC, correct me if I’m wrong, is a HUSTLER, ang image niya, kaya mi sector na nagre-resent sa kanya.

  18. Fermin Salvador on August 2nd, 2009 4:46 am

    Kailangan talaga na sumama ang mga nauna nang nabigyan ng gawad sa pagkundena sa ginawang ito ng nasa likod ng gawad. Dahil ang katahimikan nila’y mangangahulugan ng pagsang-ayon. At kapag tuluyang bumagsak ang kredibilidad at integridad ng KAWAT este GAWAD ay babalik ang epekto nito sa kanila mismo.

    Ewan ko lang kung may mas dramatiko pa kapag sama-sama silang nagbanta na isasauli ang tinanggap nilang gawad. Pati lahat ng benepisyong kasama nito.

    Ang malaking tanong — kung gagawin nga nila. Di ba may kasabihan: what are colleagues for?

    Pero…what are national artist awards for?

    At…what are arts for?

  19. Pinoy Comics USA on August 3rd, 2009 12:39 am

    “National Artist Award a Joke,” says Leo Martinez, Film Academy Head

    Published: August 1, 2009
    SPOT.ph got the official statement of Leo Martinez, Director General of the Film Academy of the Philippines, about the selection of Carlo J. Caparas as National Artist for Visual Arts and Film:

    Where did he come from?

    Some weeks back, news was rife about the National Artist Awardees awaiting confirmation by Malacañang. Cited as National Artist for Film, albeit posthumously, was Manuel Conde. We at the Film Academy of the Philippines had nominated Director Celso Ad. Castillo, but really, nobody can dispute Mr. Conde’s place in Philippine cinema¹s history. We believe that even Director Castillo who is similarly deserving of the award will graciously acknowledge the greatness of the man.

    Two days ago, the confirmation was finally announced and to our surprise and to the surprise of many in the film industry, the National Artist Award for Film was also conferred on Carlo Caparas. Not only that, he was bestowed the National Artist Award for Film AND Visual Arts.

    So, where did he come from? Throughout the long and exacting selection process, Carlo Caparas was never, ever mentioned as nominee, not for film and surely not for visual arts. All of a sudden, he is a National Artist and seemingly the most gifted of all for straddling two major art fields.

    There only seems to be one answer to this mystery. Between the Awards selection panels and us, the people, the list of awardees made a stop-over in Malacañang. Someone waved the magic wand and a name appeared, a person who never went through the incisive and deliberate scrutiny that the rest of the awardees were subjected to by the Awards organizers. I believe that this is an act of blatant accommodation.

    Conferring the highest award on someone who was never in the running makes a travesty of the National Artists Awards, an institution that has been looked up to, venerated even for the recognition it gives to Filipinos whose body of works or whose contribution to the Filipino people is of the highest order. We have as this year’s awardees Manuel Conde for Film and Federico Alcuaz for Visual Arts. Both are commendable, both beyond question. It has never been done before but had the Organizers wanted to give the same award to more than one person, why not consider the other most deserving nominees. Instead, and to our utter disgust, a new category was coined and the two most prestigious awards for Film and Visual Arts were conferred on Carlo Caparas.

    It is a pity that the National Artist Award has been reduced to a joke.

    Director General
    Film Academy of the Philippines

  20. Fermin Salvador on August 3rd, 2009 12:45 am

    Madaling sabihin ni Capural na “inggit” lang ang nasa likod ng mga tumututol. Pero puwede pa kaya ang katwiran na ito kung ang tututol ay ang mga nagawaran na rin na National Artists. We should appeal to the past awardees, those who are still living and the families of those who are dead, to make a stand on this issue – this issue involves the credibility and integrity of their ranks.

  21. Pinoy Comics USA on August 3rd, 2009 11:24 am

    I just got this:


    F. Sionil Jose, Arturo Luz, Bienvenido Lumbera, Virgilio Almario, Bencab, Salvador Bernal will lead artists and community in a Necrological Service and Funeral March for the National Artists Awards on Friday, August 7, 2 to 6 pm, at the Front Ramp of the Cultural Center of the Philippines on Roxas Blvd. Please come in mourning clothes.

  22. Maja on August 4th, 2009 2:45 am

    Hi Gerry,

    I’m not much of an artist and my background on arts and culture is limited to what was taught on my college Humanities class. But here’s my take on the issue:

    Out of delicadeza, I think Cecile Guidote-Alvarez should’ve bowed out of the nomination process, or if she really wanted the NA Award, she should’ve resigned from her post as the head of NCAA.

    As for Carlo Caparas, maybe his next film should aptly be titled “The Massacre of the National Artist Award…God Save the Filipino Artist!”

  23. Probe CJC on August 4th, 2009 11:17 am

    Bakit kasi nag-fofocus lang kayo sa CJC Massacre movies? Sa dami ng nagawa nyang nobela at pelikula sa tingin “NAMING LAHAT” na may karapatan din siyang gawaran ng parangal.

  24. Gerry Alanguilan on August 4th, 2009 11:29 am

    Probe, in-approve ko this one time and comment mo kasi I wanted to reply. Pero next time please, gamitin mo ang pangalan mo. Ako ginagamit ko ang pangalan ko. Sana panindigan mo rin ang salita mo ng pangalan mo, tulad ko. Para patas, Diba?

    Marami nang parangal si CJC. Di ba nga’t may Presidential Award of Merit sya? Yung award na yun di ko pagkakait sa kanya. Very good! Well done! Pero ang bagay na parang hindi mo nage-gets, ay ang National Awards ay may CRITERIA. Sorry, pero kahit anong sipat natin dyan, hindi sya umaabot sa criteria.

    Unang una, dapat dumaan sya sa selection committee ng NCCA at CCP. Hindi sya dumaan doon. Siningit lang sya ni GMA.

    Sa comics, lalong lalo na syang hindi umabot sa criteria, kasi ang criteria para maging National Artist ka for Visual Arts, e kung VISUAL ARTIST KA. Hindi visual artist si CJC. WRITER sya. Parang binigyan mo ng basketball trophy ang boksingero. Gets mo? Ano pa ba ang pinagtatalunan dito? Malinaw na hindi sya qualified FOR THIS AWARD.

    Kung gawaran man si CJC ng IBANG AWARD ng ibang grupo, wala akong problema, as long as abutin nya ang criteria ng grupo na iyon.

  25. nestor malgapo on August 5th, 2009 12:01 am


    Pare-pareho tayong nagmamahal sa komiks…siyempre masisiyahan tayo kapag taga-komiks ang magiging isa sa National Artist. Pero sa pagkakasali ni CJC sa napili, isang malaking insulto ito sa lahat ng bumubuo sa industriya ng komiks…dahil tayong mga taga-komiks ang HIGIT na nakaaalam kung sino ang karapat-dapat na bigyan ng parangal.

    (Hindi dahil sa dami ng mga nagawa ang pinag-uusapan! Hindi taga-komiks ang nagsasabi nito).

    Bakit hindi si Francisco V. Coching, si Nestor Redondo, Alfredo o/at Larry Alcala? At kung writer din naman, bakit hindi si Mars Ravelo? Lahat ng taga-komiks ay sasang-ayon kung sila.

    Pero si CJC…NAKAKAHIYA ito!

  26. mico suayan on August 5th, 2009 5:28 am

    Dito talaga natin makikita kung gaano ka-corrupt ang gobyerno natin. Kahit wala ko pakialam sa gobyerno, nakakasama ng loob.

  27. Jun Pamintuan on August 5th, 2009 8:51 am

    Napanood nyo interview ni CJC sa GMA kaninang umaga?

    Regarding sa mga nagpo-protesta against sa kanya ano raw masasabi nya. Hindi eto and eksaktong sinabi nya pero similar or ganito ang dating sa pagkakatanda ko:

    Kaawaan na lang daw ang mga napo-protesta. Kukunin daw nya title dahil pinaghirapan daw nya yun and alam daw ng mga tao na deserve nya yun.

    -In my head I was like..!@&$%%^!* deserve nya? Eh !*#&%&*@# hindi nga man lang dumaan sa selection process yung !*@&$$^ and hindi nga sya gumuguhit tapos nanalo sya ng national award for visual arts out of nowhere! Para san pang tinawag na National Artist for Visual Arts yun kung ibibigay sa taong hindi gumuguhit. Malinaw pa sa araw yung kalabuan nun eh. Gawin na rin nating National Animal yung Kangaroo.

  28. JP Cuison on August 5th, 2009 2:53 pm

    Pupunta po ba kayo this friday sa CCP?

    -Jp Cuison

  29. Leo Bryle on August 6th, 2009 4:03 am

    Lino Brocka’s films have always been the subject of academic excellence in Film, Movie-making, Scriptwriting and Acting. I’ve never heard anything about Caparas’s. Brocka’s masterpieces often provoked consciousness, changes and freedom. While Caparas’s taught us to be careful in a half-lit street of wherever, we don’t want get massacred by an antoginist with an intriguing hairdo.

    I just can’t be proud. I can’t imagine that Caparas is now akin to Brocka’s caliber.

    The housewife-turned-president and the last epitome of civility in governance has left us last Saturday August 1. I hope that the descision-making skills of this administration did not accompany her to grave.

  30. kitkokoy on August 8th, 2009 10:11 pm

    simple explanation
    to be given such award you need the respect of his/her peers obviously that does not apply to mr. caparas. he is beyond that.

  31. Reggie Senal on August 12th, 2009 5:28 pm

    How can one accept such a prestigious award from someone who her self STOLE the presidency and CHEATED her reelection?
    Go figure!
    How can an award be worth it when your fellow peers of highly respected artist looks down on it.
    To the artist. They may have the medals and names up there but in really IT’S WORTHLESS and people know why!
    Your award is the fruit from a poisons tree.

  32. Carlo J. Caparas is a National Artist (Lord, Have Mercy!) : Komikero Comics Journal on August 14th, 2009 9:59 am

    […] Line: Carlo J. Caparas is NOT Qualified http://gerry.alanguilan.com/archives/1659 July 31, […]

  33. skysenshi on August 16th, 2009 11:12 pm

    My real name is Beatrice Lapa, but I’m using my nick because my nick is search-engine-friendlier than my real name…

    All I can say is…This is spitting on all the things we’ve ever done as artists and designers. It irks me that I voted for a president who would do this. Squander tax money on useless things and at the same time MAKE CAPARAS REQUIRED VIEWING IN THE ACADEME. Yes. His massacre films are now officially required viewing for film classes because he is a National Artist. pGMA didn’t just screw with our tax money, she also screwed with our education, our livelihood, and ultimately, our culture.

  34. We Deserve Better by Butch Dalisay- The Next National Artist on August 18th, 2009 4:12 am

    […] chair Emily Abrera; and film critic Alexis Tioseco. Hosting the show, which you can view here, was the unflappably professional Cheche […]

  35. How Delicadeza Works – Or Not by Butch Dalisay- The Next National Artist on August 18th, 2009 4:23 am

    […] (For anyone still in doubt about the quality of Carlo J’s directorial vision, check this out. For his achievements in comics art, see here.) […]

  36. ruth ann aldana on August 18th, 2009 1:05 pm

    kung sinasabi ni CJC na sya ay “deserving”, bakit maraming umaalma, bakit maraming nagpro-protesta.

    sa dinami-daming artist na mas “deserving” sa kanya (CJC), bakit sya pa ang napili. labis na itong ginagawa sa atin ni GMA, tinatrato na nya tayong lahat na prarang mga tanga at inutil.

  37. ces on September 9th, 2009 9:20 am

    He really is not qualified for the award because his comics were not even a hit,, compared to other stories that hit comic readers before like darna, captain barbel, and the fact that he did not illustrate his comics. Well it only shows that he doesn’t have any delikadesa because he keeps claiming that he deserves the award and he’s a great artist,, nagbubuhat sya ng sariling bangko!..
    Di man lang nya naisip na nakakahiya malagay ka sa history na national artist (ang national artist na prinotesta ng tao dahil hindi karapat dapat)…
    Hindi katulad ni Pitoy Moreno na ang statement lang is “Kung ibibigay e di ok pero kung ayaw di hindi”… Si CJC “Aking yang award na yan” palibhasa malapit lang kay GMA!!
    Hmmppp! wala talagang kwenta!!