Noted composer, singer, and national icon Joey Ayala is now in hot water for what was supposed to be a lighthearted talk at the TEDxDiliman 2013 event held in UP Diliman last week. During the talk, Joey Ayala made minor changes to the wordings of Lupang Hinirang to improve clarity and stress the meaning of the words in the National Anthem. This apparently did not sit well with the National Historical Institute (NHI), as with most things that are hip and cool.
Ayala was arrested earlier this morning in front of his house by elements of the special armed intervention group of the National Historical Institute and was taken to Intramuros for paperwork and further questioning. Ayala was chosen to do the talk for his previous experience as Chairman of Music in the National Commission for Culture and Arts as well as his noted patriotism. His credentials did not save him from the authorities.
Pepito Jose Pitombayag Jr, spokesperson for NHI Anthem Investigation Unit explained the situation. “I don’t even know why people bother to changing something that’s been the same for the last hundred years. They know we have laws against it. They know we punish violators. Yet they still try and end up just hurting themselves, their loved ones, and their ancestors’ honor. It doesn’t matter who you are. If you try to mess with the National Anthem, you called down the thunder, you reap the whirlwind.”
As expected, the organizers of TEDxDiliman along with other organizations in UP that seem to never have anything else going on except rallies and communist parties are planning to mount, well, protests, in Intramuros to request Ayala’s early release. Not that protests ever change anything.
Activist leader Mon Jose of student org confederation KAPIT-SIBAK-AGAD says “This is outrageous. Here we have an innocent man who did nothing but try to make Lupang Hinirang sound like something a human would actually enjoy listening to, and the we arrested him. Meanwhile, Daniel Padilla is being given more airtime than most national issues and nobody seems to care. What are we waiting for? A second concert? Also, PNOY RESIGN! TUTA NG KANO!”
The National Anthem Law, which explicitly forbids the changing of the tune, lyrics, and rhythm of the National Anthem, was first passed by the legislation back when the only forms of entertainment entertainment people had was anthem singing, Palo Sebo and rebelling against the Spanish Government. The normally toothless NHI was given full powers to enforce the law later on by the Magsaysay administration. The law was then later relaxed during the Marcos years by adding exempting provisions for people who are genetically horrible at singing and people with poor lyric memory and who have never been to gradeschool.
Well worth noting that this exemption is exactly what allowed Christian Bautista to walk away unscathed after bungling a singing attempt during a boxing match on Aug 2007. Whether he sings poorly, sucks at memorization, or has never gone to gradeschool is not determined.
Joey Ayala is the next big celebrity to come under fire for breaking this law after pop singer, songwriter, and failed talk showhost Martin Nievera. Nievera sang a different tune of Lupang Hinirang last May 2009 during Manny Pacquiao’s fight against Ricky Hatton and was given non-incarcerating punishments stipulated in a special clause of the Penal code relating to the Anthem Law.
Reportedly included in the punishment is the forced signing a contract that stipulates at least seven collaborations together with Anne Curtis (see Without You by Anne Curtis) and having to publicly reread the nefarious FHM issue of August 2006 featuring his ex-wife Pops Fernandez, which avid subscribers describe as “boner reducing” and “the stuff that fuels drug-induced nightmares”.
Interviewed later on, Martin Nievera refused to divulge any details of the punishments and even went so far as outrightly denying them when we asked again a few months later.
When asked for opinion on the very recent arrest of Joey Ayala, Mr. Nievera shed a single tear, bowed down, and whispered “God help him. His fate is with the NHI now and the NHI is very powerful.”