President Aquino's decision to exclude movie actress Nora Aunor from this year's list of National Artists solidly rests on a lawful right, no "himala" or miracle needed.

And PNoy doesn't have to explain to the public, as Supreme Court ruled in 2013 on then president Gloria Arroyo's 2009 decision to include a name not submitted in the list of National Commission for Culture and the Arts and Cultural Center of the Philippines, the vetting agencies.

Then president Arroyo included one name. PNoy deleted one name. Presidential wisdom -- or whim.

Something is violated, critics say. Consensus of peers tasked to weigh merits of nominees is disregarded. Still, the high court in effect ruled, the president has the final say.

What would've been art and culture news became a political story, which measured breadth of presidential power.

Not surprising to political watchers. Even in the local scene, the same power play applies. Who could be a Cebu City charter honoree or, before when Capitol ran it, a "Garbo sa Sugbo" awardee without imprimatur from mayor or governor?

PNoy still had to speak out why he dropped Ms. Aunor but rumored reasons -- morality and her drug case in the U.S. -- are not in the guidelines.


Odd that he still has to tackle this problem when more important woes like rising prices and worsening relations with China demand attention.

But the issue stabs into art and culture on which, artists tell us, the nation's soul feeds.

And law or jurisprudence may do little to contain growing scorn from artists and Nora Aunor fans towards the president. (