Whenever Pinoy boxing champ Manny Pacquiao fights, the Filipinos always look forward not only to the event itself but also to whoever will perform the Philippine national anthem, "Lupang Hinirang."
For several times already, the National Historical Institute (NHI) has given its thumbs down to the renditions of even the country's most popular singers who sang the national anthem in Pacquiao's fights and other boxing matches. Among these were Concert King Martin Nievera, international singing sensation Charice Pempengco, Asia's Nightingale Lani Misalucha, romantic balladeer Christian Bautista, and Popstar Princess Sarah Geronimo.
NHI had also warned RnB Princess Kyla, Jennifer Bautista, and La Diva (composed of Jonalyn Viray, Aicelle Santos, and Maricar Garcia) for not following the right tempo of "Lupang Hinirang."
After Pacquiao's bout against Ghana's Joshua Clottey last Sunday, March 14, the NHI said it might file a complaint against Arnel Pineda, the Filipino frontman of rock band Journey, for the "wrong" rendition of "Lupang Hinirang." (CLICK HERE to read related article.)
In an interview with ABS-CBN News today, March 16, Pineda said: "I apologize for my dissatisfactory performance dun sa fight ni Pacquiao and Clottey sa Dallas, Texas, according to their standards. What can I do? I'm just doing my job... but then again hindi ako sorry kasi artistic freedom ko 'yon. It doesn't make me less of a Filipino dahil sa nabago ang pagkakanta."
Pineda also said that what he did was to the song was part of his "artistic freedom."
"Ano ba ang bago? 'Yong traditional na pagkanta ng 'Lupang Hinirang' ang gusto nilang marinig. On my part, I'm just doing my artistic freedom. I was there as Filipino representing Pacquiao and the Philippines, 'yon ang importante," he explained.
BELTING OUT LAST LINE. In a separate interview with ABS-CBN News, NHI chief Teddy Atienza related his disappointment with Pineda for singing the anthem slowly on the first part instead of the marching tempo. He also pointed out that the singer belted out the last part of "Lupang Hinirang."
The Republic Act 8941 (under Section 37) or the Flag and Heraldic Code states that: "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."
Pineda admitted that he went off-pitch on the last stanza of "Lupang Hinirang."
"Alam ko naman na nag-flat ako, kasi ang parte na 'yon na nagsimula nang magsigawan ang tao. Wala akong ear monitor. Hindi ko na marinig ang sarili ko noong pumapasok ako doon sa line na 'Lupa ng araw ng luwalhati't pagsinta.' Sumisigaw na sila, highlight ng melody ng kanta 'yon so unti-unti hindi ko naririnig," he explained.