Journey frontman Arnel Pineda is in a bit of a pickle right now. The National Historical Institute (NHI) said that it would be filing a complaint against the rock singer's "wrong" rendition of the Philippine National Anthem. Arnel sang "Lupang Hinirang" at Manny Pacquiao's welterweight fight yesterday (Sunday, March 14) against Ghanaian boxer Joshua Clottey.
The Institute is mandated to ensure that the National Anthem, the Philippine flag, and its national symbols are respected.
It adheres to Republic Act 8491 (under Section 37) or the Flag and Heraldic Code, which states: "The national anthem must be sung in accordance with the original musical arrangement of composer Julian Felipe, who gave it a marching tempo. Violators may be fined P5,000 to P20,000 or jailed for a year."
DUTY-BOUND PROSECUTORS. Justice Secretary Alberto Agra stated in an interview with GMA News that prosecutors are ready to deal with the forthcoming complaint of the NHI. He added that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is duty-bound to attend to all complaints. However, Sec. Agra admitted that he was not able to watch the televised bout of Pacquiao and Clottey last Sunday.
"Pagpapaumanhin ko, di ko napanood ang pagkapanalo ni Pacquiao," he said. "Di ko alam ano ang naging rendition ng kanta."
WARNINGS MULTIPLY. This is not the first time the NHI has warned artists who deviate from the National Anthem's established version. According to the NHI, Charice Pempengco, Jennifer Bautista, Christian Bautista, Martin Nievera, and La Diva altered it. Sarah Geronimo, Lani Misalucha, and Kyla sang the National Anthem longer than it should have been. All of these singers were criticized by the NHI.
Although, so far, nobody has been punished under Republic Act 8491.