Ex-judge and winner in Palanca prize for the same category

PROPRIETY ISSUE IN ‘PALANCA PRIZE’

Ex-judge and winner in Palanca prize for the same category



Is it proper for a former judge of the prestigious Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature to allow a contestant in a category where the judge in the 2011 edition was the contestant’s co-judge in the 2010 edition of the same category?
The answer lies more on propriety issue or if the Palanca organizers care to keep the solid credibility and integrity built for over 50 years by the award-giving body.
In the announcement of the 2011 Palanca Literary awards winners released this week, it shows that Dr. Rosario Torres Yu won the second prize in Sanaysay (Filipino essay category) with her piece “Nagbibihis na si Nanay.”

The Palanca website, however, shows that Torres-Yu, a professor in Filipino at the University of the Philippines, was one of the three judges in the said category for the previous year’s edition of the contest.
In the 2010 contest, Torres-Yu was a co-judge of Dr. Pamela C. Constantino and Reuel Molina Aguila was the chairman. All of them are members of the UP Filipino department faculty.

In the 2011 contest, Dr. Constantino acted as the chairman.

The first prize in the Sanaysay category, which covers informal and personal essays written in Filipino, went to Bernadette V. Neri for her entry “Ang Pag-uwi ng Alibughang Anak ng Lupa.” The 3rd prize went to Nancy Kimuell-Gabriel for “Kubeta.”
The prizes were P15,000, P10,000 and P8,000, respectively.
Moreover, contest rules call for the authors to use pseudonyms, a circumstance that would make easy for Dr. Constantino to know which of the entries was the one submitted by her former co-judge Torres-Yu. While nothing prevents Palanca Awards from doing what it wants, it would be better if it would bar former judges from submitting entries and much better if it would require raffled numbers instead of pseudonyms to be placed as the identities of the authors.
Established in 1950 to inspire Filipino writers to improve their literary works, the Palanca Awards is considered the longest-running award-giving body in the country as it is marks its 61st year today.
It is also regarded by literary circles as the most prestigious and most enduring literary awards dubbed as the “Pulitzer Prize of the country.”

“Pseudonyms or pen names are used by contestants in their entries but the Palanca Awards Foundation should forbid judges from joining a certain category if she is an entry contestant herself out of delicadeza. This is not to question the integrity of the literary award-giving body but it should exercise proper scruples in its choice for the judges, otherwise the name of the foundation, untainted for six decade now, can be caught up rumpled and messed up in a conflict of interest,” a noted literary figure opined.


RARE BRAVERY OF DR. ROSARIO TORRES-YU


In the name of fairness--and in my act of giving highest commendation to a rare bravery--I am publishing here the gesture of the woman who showed grace and rare bravery in reacting to a criticism that could have sent any politician to an outrageous revenge.

 With what she did in confronting an article that should have made her mad, she has shown what ideal public figures and public officials should do in the face of critical words.

This is what Dr. Torres-Yu wrote:


"Salamat kay Anonymous. Hindi ko siya kilala at nalaman ko ang tungkol sa blogpost na ito dahil sa isang writer ng isang newspaper na nagbigay ng impormasyon sa akin dahil gusto niya akong ma-interview tungkol dito. Ako si Dr. Rosario Torres-Yu. Nalulungkot ako na napakadaling humusga ng mga tao nang hindi muna inaalam ang magkabilang panig. Wala akong kamalay-malay tungkol dito. nakakalungkot dahil lumalabas sa pagkakasulat ng blogpost na ito na ako pa dahilan kung bakit napipingasan ang marangal na tradisyon ng CPMAL. Sinisiguro ko rin sa mga nakabasa nito na maaari nilang alamin kung ano naman ang reputasyong pinaghirapan kong buuin at pangalagaan sa mahigit na 40 taon kong pagtuturo sa UP, sa pagiging dean ng Kolehyo ng Arte at Literatura at iba pang posisyong pinagsilbihan ko. Hindi ko ito dudungisan sa sa paraang ibinibintang sa akin sa pagkapanalong ito. Sana, alamin ninyo sa mismong Palanca Foundation na namamahala ng awards na ito ang kanilang panig. Salamat sa pagkakataong makapagbigay ng aking panig."

Due to her unique gesture, I wrote this for her:



"THANK YOU, DR. ROSARIO TORRES-YU FOR YOUR COURAGEOUS GESTURE.

"Your voice in this blog adds balance and credibility to your winning.

"I SALUTE YOU DOCTOR FOR THE RARE BRAVERY IN DECIDING TO CONFRONT THE ISSUE IN A MANNER OF DOING IT BY "WORDS VS WORDS" AND NOT "SWORDS VS WORDS."

"TRULY, THAT IS SO COMMENDABLE OF YOU, DOING IT EVEN IF IT APPEARS PAINFUL TO YOU.

"BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU DID IN CONFRONTING THE ISSUE AGAINST YOU, YOU ARE FROM NOW ON MY PERFECT EXAMPLE TO GOVERNMENT MEN WHO RATHER USE GUNS, PHYSICAL VIOLENCE, OR LIBEL LAWS TO CONFRONT CRITICISMS.

"But before going further, let me assure you Dr. Yu that I did not have any personal motive.

"To begin with, I have not known you. Secondly, I gave faith in the words of my sources and I cannot break the vow to keep their identities.

"Nevertheless, if we are to read my blog again, the only issue is whether I was correct in my belief in the assertion of my sources who said that pseudonyms are used and not numbers as entry names for purposes of judging. The fact that you were once a judge is a fact as demonstrated by the website of Palanca awards.

"Up to this time (10:50 p.m. of Sept. 13, 2011), I have not yet known or read any rule to confirm or belie me.

"But with the courage that you showed, Dr. Torres-Yu, with the grace you showed in writing your side, along with similar assertions of two other persons commenting here, LET ME SALUTE YOU AGAIN and ASSURE YOU ALSO that I now tend to believe that I got the wrong belief in my sources.

"And if only to show my appreciation to you, let me put into this blog story the three reactions here, including yours.

"My apology, my regards to you, and my congratulations.

"MAY YOUR TRIBE INCREASE, DR. ROSARIO TORRES-YU."


PALANCA JUDGE DR. PAM CONSTANTINO 
RISES IN DEFENSE OF PRIZE'S INTEGRITY
This blog writer feels honored and privileged to get a reaction from the chairman of the panel of judges for the sanasay (essay) category of the prestigious Palanca Awards.
Here is her reaction:

"Pakiusap lang po,sana kumuha muna ng tamang impormasyon bago magblog.kredibilidad ng nagsulat ang importante dito.kulang po at mali ang mga impormasyon.una,yung exjudge at chair ng parehong kategorya nung isang taon,sumali din sa taong ito sa parehong kategorya pero hindi nanalo.

"Isa pa,hindi pseudonym kundi numero ang pagkakakilanlan ng bawat entry ang ibinibigaysa judge.hindi namin alam kung may ibinigay na pseudonym ang kontestant.ang palanca at ang kontestant lang ang nakakaalam niyon,kung mayroon man.
 
"At isa pa,bakit kaya si dr.yu ang nasingle out e 2nd placer langnaman siya. At hindi lang si dr.constantino ang judge. Tatlo sila. At unanimous lagi angdesisyon.
pakisabi lang sa informant ninyo na sabihin ang totoo at sumali na lang sa isang taon at baka suwertihin uli siya.Ganyan talaga.
 
"Hindi dahil akala mo dakila ka,lagi kang mananalo.Pahusay nang pahusay ang mga sumasali sa Palanca."
Thank you, Dr. Pam for this.

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