Pinoys skeptic over FAMAS’ apology to actress Eva Darren after awards night ‘debacle’

May 27, 2024 - 5:30 PM
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Eva Darren
Actress Eva Darren in this photo posted on the Facebook page of the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences on May 27, 2024 (FamasOfficialPage/Facebook)

The Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Awards‘ apology in response to the post of the son of veteran actress Eva Darren about their treatment of her was met with skepticism.

In a lengthy Facebook post dubbed “A moment of debacle at the FAMAS Awards Night”, dentist Fernando de la Pena, Eva’s son, said that the film industry’s award-giving body treated his mother in an “unethical” and “unprofessional” manner during the awards night of FAMAS 2024.

Fernando shared that his mother was invited as an award presenter months before the prestigious event and did her best to prepare for the moment. He said she was supposed to present with another veteran actor, Tirso Cruz III.

Eva’s son said she was given a script “to go over and memorize” for the event.

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

He added that Eva “memorized and rehearsed her script to perfection, braved the downpour of a Signal No. 1 Typhoon warning and drove to the Manila Hotel.”

“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. My mother never went on the stage,” Fernando said.

He added that the public relations officer of FAMAS, who had been constantly communicating with his mother before the ceremony, “had absolutely no explanations to offer, just a thousand apologies.”

“He confessed not knowing what happened and wasn’t sure why there was a last-minute change. 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,” Fernando said.

“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. To all of you people behind FAMAS, you cannot do this to an icon of Philippine Cinema!” he added.

Fernando described FAMAS’ actions as “rude, disrespectful, unethical” and “unprofessional.”

FAMAS on Monday addressed the issue in a statement with a status that said, “Feeling sad.”

“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. She was part of the program in last night’s Awards Night and was supposed to present Special Citations with Mr. Tirso Cruz III,” it said on May 27.

“But considering that we were running a live show, and due to myriads of people present in last night’s festivities, the production team was not able to locate Ms. Darren. This was indeed a setback in the live show and a negligence on the part of the team,” the award-giving body added.

FAMAS said the incident was “not intentional and purely a misjudgment,” stressing that the ceremony was “being streamed live and needed to be remedied right away.”

“Hence, a replacement for Miss Darren was done last minute,” it explained.

FAMAS also acknowledged that Eva and her family were hurt by the happening.

“We understand that an apology alone cannot undo the damage this might have caused Miss Darren but we are committed to make amends and rebuild her trust by a personal visit of the FAMAS Board to honor her stature, if she allows it,” it concluded.

FAMAS has limited the comments section of the particular post, unlike other posts on its Facebook page.

Its statement failed to appease some Filipinos who learned of their response, including a Facebook user who claimed the organization was “undemocratic.”

“They deleted my comment, then deactivated their comments section so that I wouldn’t be able to comment anymore. How unprofessional and rude! Obviously, it was my comment that hit FAMAS hard the most (how flattering). So I’m rewriting it here,” Facebook user Pepe Alas said.

“You only apologized because Eva Darren’s son wrote about what you did to his mother. Had it not gone viral, I’m 100% sure that there would be no apology. Your apology is not enough. Pay her back the value of the dinner that she and her three grandchildren paid for. Triple it. Compensate her. Then give her and her family the best seat in next year’s event. Give her a special spot in the program. All expenses paid,” he added.

Another Facebook user wondered how big the venue was for the organization to be unable to locate Eva.

“Unintentional? Unable to locate her? She literally occupied [four]  seats with her grandsons. Ganon ba kalaki ang Manila Hotel? And shouldn’t you be locating her even before the program starts?” the online user commented.

Another Pinoy had similar sentiments.

“Ikaw na nga ang inabala, gumastos at ipinahiya, ikaw pa ang sinisi kasi hindi ka raw ‘makita.’ Saan po ba ang venue ng Awards Night — sa Araneta? Philippine Arena? Sa Rose Bowl Stadium? Nakakahiya. Nakakalungkot. Nakakagalit,” the user said.

“Incompetence. First time [niyo] bang mag-organize ng Awards Night?” another user commented on FAMAS’ statement.

FAMAS is said to be the oldest existing award-giving body in the film industry in the Philippines and one of the oldest in Asia.

The FAMAS Awards is one of the highly distinguished film award bodies in the country, along with the Luna Awards (Film Academy of the Philippines), the Gawad Urian Awards (Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino) and the Star Awards for Movies and Television (Philippine Movie Press Club).

Meanwhile, Eva has been working in the entertainment industry since the early ’60s.

She has appeared in over 15 television dramas, including “Mula Sa Puso,” “Marinella,” “Pangako Sa ‘Yo,” “May Bukas Pa,” among others.

The veteran actress has an extensive film list as well, appearing in movies like “Kulog At Kidlat,” “Brides of Blood,” “The Beggar,” “Ang Lalaki sa Buhay ni Selya” and “Ligaya Ang Itawag Mo Sa Akin.”

Eva received a FAMAS award for Best Supporting Actress in “Ang Pulubi” and was nominated twice for the same category in the films “Ang Langit Sa Lupa” and “Igorota.”

She was also nominated in the Gawad Urian Awards for Best Supporting Actress in “Ligaya Ang Itawag Mo Sa Akin.”