'Da King' is officially a National Artist.
This, after President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III formally conferred the National Artist for Cinema post humous award for Fernando Poe Jr. in a ceremony Thursday.
Poe’s widow, actress Susan Roces, and their daughter, Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) Chairperson Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares, accepted the honor on his behalf.
“He would have thanked President Aquino himself for confirming him… It’s worth waiting for because he was honored by a duly-elected president,” Roces said.
The award came six years after Roces turned down the same acknowledgment from former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Poe's staunchest opponent in the 2003 presidential polls.
Poe’s family rejected the honor after Roces claimed that Mrs. Arroyo cheated against Poe to win the presidential elections in 2004.
It was only in November 2010 that Poe’s family signified their willingness to accept the award under the Aquino administration.
In his speech, President Aquino admitted that no award will ever be enough as Poe’s contribution to the Philippine movie industry as a writer, producer, and director is unparalled.
“Who among Filipinos do not know FPJ? Or who among us have not yet seen his films? The Philippine cinema goes with his name and his contribution in the industry and our society is unparalled,” President Aquino said.
Aquino also lauded Poe for his mythic role on the big screen by portraying the story of common Filipinos.
"He is a hero to most Filipinos - a defender of the oppressed and protector of justice," the chief executive said.
President Aquino delivered the speech a month after he signed a Proclamation No. 435 confirming Arroyo’s announcement to declare Poe as a national artist.
Poe, who ran and lost in the presidential race in 2004 national elections, died from a stroke in December 2004.