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Filipino Celebs Express Support for Eva Darren After the FAMAS Incident

Rita Avila, Ogie Diaz, Cedrick Juan, and Aktor PH shared their thoughts on the awards night that could've been a moment of celebration for entertainment industry stalwarts like Eva Darren

On May 27, son of veteran Filipina actress Eva Darren cried foul over the unfair treatment that his mother received from the recently-concluded FAMAS Awards and its organizers.

Fernando de la Peña called out the award-giving body for snubbing the 77-year-old iconic woman at the show. According to his social media post, his mother was removed from the roster of presenters, as she was not summoned to perform her assigned role.

“During the point where she was supposed to present an award, her partner, Mr. Tirso Cruz III, went upstage with an upcoming young singer instead. Not my mom,” he narrated, angered by what happened. “My mother never went on the stage.”

Having been invited to the prestigious ceremony, Eva was in utter excitement upon learning she would be one of the presenters for this year’s awarding season. Fernando even revealed that months before FAMAS, Eva memorized her speech early on.

“Mom was excited, bought the best dress and pair of heels she could afford and topped that with a nice package of hair and make up for the gala. During the event, she brought along three of her very proud grandkids,” he said in his statement. “With a price tag of P5,000 ($90) per plate for four people, needless to say, it was not a cheap evening.

Fernando’s expression of dismay carried on. He emphasized that this stint was particularly important to his mom, especially that the last time she went on stage for a FAMAS event was way back in 1969. At the time, Eva bagged the coveted Best Supporting Actress accolade for her performance in the Luis Nepomuceno film Ang Pulubi/The Beggar

“Being the true professional that my mother is, she memorized and rehearsed her script to perfection, braved the downpour of a Signal No. 1 typhoon warning and drove to the Manila Hotel,” Fernando cited. “After the glitz and glamor shots with air cheek kisses and whatnots, everyone eventually took their seats and the awarding commenced.”

“My mom said ‘it’s okay’ but decided to leave nonetheless. I couldn’t blame her. Staying around was just rubbing salt on her FAMAS-inflicted wounds. You would think and assume that a ‘prestigious award-giving body’ who had been doing the same thing every year, over and over without fail, would have mastered their craft after 72 years. But no, not this entity.”

Following Fernando’s outcry, there was an uproar of comments from netizens and entertainment figures alike. Most would describe the incident as “unacceptable,” “rude,” and “shameless.” 

Celebrities like Rita Avila, Ogie Diaz, and Cedrick Juan, meanwhile, shared their thoughts on the FAMAS incident. 

“I am glad that her son posted about it,” she wrote. “I agree 100% to the comments that said: ‘Inimbita ka, ikaw pa magbabayad ng meal mo?’ ‘Nananahimik ka tapos iimbitahin ka, gagastos ka mula sa damit, makeup, gasolina hanggang sa pagkain mo para ano? Para sa NINGNING?’”

Kahit naman sa mga mediacon/presscon, invited ang cast, nagbihis, nag-ayos, gumastos sa gasolina para lang magmukhang tang* ang marami. Mga bida naman ang gustong interview-hin ng press eh, ’di sana mga bida na lang ang mag-attend, ’di ba?” she went on.

Ogie Diaz, on the other hand, said that one should not be invited if the host would only waste the guest’s time and effort.

Hindi raw ma-locate ang seat ni Ms. Eva Darren, kaya nagkaroon ng last minute replacement sa stage,” he stated. “Sa tanda naman ni Ms. Eva, saan naman kaya siya pupunta? Nagte-table hopping ba siyaNag-yosi sa backstage? Nag-jog sa Quirino Grandstand? Namamasyal sa Luneta?”

Inabala n’yo ’yung matandang nirerespeto sa industriya para lang mabastos sa Gabi ng Parangal? Iba talaga ang tinitingnan sa tinititigan,” Ogie concluded.

FAMAS Best Actor nominee Cedrick Juan was also saddened by the turn of events. “Hay. Hindi daw siya mahanap. Kaya nga may organizers ang bawat event,” he posted.

League of Filipino actors Aktor PH shared a statement as well. Rewind's Dingdong Dantes and Mallari's Piolo Pascual, who are members of Aktor PH's Board of Directors, attended the FAMAS Awards, with Piolo even bagging the Best Actor award for the film Mallari.

“It is ironic that the event last Sunday, which was supposed to honor the iconic pillars of the country, was marred by an unfortunate incident that happened to one of our respected and beloved peers during a celebration with industry members at one of the oldest award-giving bodies,” the statement said. “We are deeply saddened by the seeming lapse in the management of the program.”

The SEC-registered nonprofit, nonstock organization, which is helmed by acting heavyweight Agot Isidro, also called for action, demanding to safeguard the Filipino film industry and its constituents.

“We aspire to revive the genuine essence of these events and bring back the glory of these gatherings, by fostering intimate celebrations that recognize excellence and embrace every individual without fear of exclusion and discrimination,” Aktor PH highlighted, extending its warmest support to Eva Darren.

ABS-CBN executive Charo Santos-Concio, however, shared snaps from the FAMAS event. She took pictures with showbiz veterans like Dante Rivero, Pilar Pilapil, Nova Villa, and of course, Eva Darren. 

Some netizens even commented on her post, praising her for being able to locate Eva during the former’s “exchange of kamustahans and hugs” with fellow entertainers.

After the alleged snub, FAMAS issued an apology last Monday to address its unfortunate mistake. “FAMAS would like to express its sincerest apologies to Miss Eva Darren, an icon in Philippine Movie Industry and a professional actress whose career is indubitably worthy of emulation,” the message went.

“The show is being streamed live and needed to be remedied right away. Hence, a replacement for Miss Darren was done last minute,” FAMAS added, explaining their side of things.

Eva, who was supposed to present Special Citations alongside Film Development Council of the Philippines chairperson Tirso Cruz III, was replaced by rising singer Sheena Palad. According to FAMAS, the hurtful disregard was unintentional, and they are “committed to making amends” to restore Eva’s trust.

Following the apology of FAMAS, Fernando released a statement of acceptance. He was grateful for everyone’s display of support, and even looked back on how his mother tended to their needs without the slightest hesitation. “My mom is one tough cookie. She is a battle-tested survivor of life’s arena,” he said.

In his defense, Fernando explained why he was still hurting despite the apology. He also cleared the names of Tirso Cruz III and FAMAS PR Officer Renz Spangler, who, in his words, are also just “casualties of someone’s questionable backstage judgment.” 

“This is why what happened to my mother, in the eyes of our family, was incomprehensible, unexpected, unimaginable,” Fernando added. “I firmly believe that what hurt my mother the most is disappointing her apos who tagged along in the hopes of seeing grandma on stage.”

“For the reasons I stated above and on behalf of my mother, Ms. Eva Darren, our family accepts the olive branch that FAMAS has extended and only hopes that future events would prove to be contrasting,” he went on. “I understand that we are but a small voice in the back row of a rowdy crowd, but if I may humbly, personally recommend two things for the 73rd FAMAS Awards Night: Please stick to the script, and maybe a nice pair of eyeglasses for all in charge.”

A multi-awarded actress, Eva Darren first forayed into acting in the 1960s. She is a three-time FAMAS nominee and a two-time Best Supporting Actress titleholder. Apart from her win as Best Supporting Actress at the 1969 FAMAS Awards, she also landed a similar feat at the 1969 Metro Manila Film Festival for her role in the Filipino film Ang Pulubi

Eva is best known for her remarkable roles in hit ABS-CBN teleserye Pangako Sa’Yo and notable films in the 60’s like Ang Langit sa Lupa, Igorota, and of course, Ang Pulubi. She also appeared in the 1997 movie Ligaya ang Itawag Mo sa Akin.

Lead photos from Fernando de la Peña, Ogie Diaz, and Rita Avila on Facebook

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