Martin Nievera, in his rendition of the Philippine National Anthem during the Pacquiao-Hatton fight, violated Republic Act No. 8491 or the Flag Law. Section 37 of the law states: "The rendition of the National Anthem, whether played or sung, shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe."
Singing the first few lines slowly like a ballad, and then repeating the lines again was the first violation. In the last lines, he made a bigger violation by changing the notes of the National Anthem! For what? So that he could wow and impress the crowd with higher notes? He should have followed the example of Tom Jones who sung the British National Anthem solemnly, very straightforward and with fervor. Nievera should issue an apology at the very least!
These commercial singers who are given the task of singing the Philippine National Anthem at international events should be reminded that the main reason they are there is to lead the crowd and the Filipino nation in paying respect to our country and our flag. The Philippine National Anthem is not a pop song! Trying to impress everyone with their voice or how high a note they could hit should be the least of their concerns.
And just a note to the people who watched the fight live, what may be allowed for the U.S. flag may be an act of disrespect for the Philippine flag. Each country has its own way of showing respect. And Section 34 (f) of the Flag Law states that it shall be prohibited "to add any word, figure, mark, picture, design, drawings, advertisement, or imprint of any nature on the flag." So no marks or messages on the Philippine flag please!
Update: Martin Nievera refuses to apologize. His reaction to the criticism is even more appalling. It's outright arrogant and bastos! I guess he's just too full of himself to apologize. Read NHI raps Martin’s version of RP anthem.
Update (05/13/09): A well-written opinion from Ambeth Ocampo on the Martin Nievera issue came out in the Inquirer today. Read Our 'pasaway' culture.