I've watched the live telecast of Pacquiao - Cotto fight on pay per view, Last November 14 here in Saudi Arabia, and everything had turned out the way Filipinos around the world prayed for, the Pacman's victory. But the day after the historic victory of the Pacman, came negative feedbacks about the rendition of the Philippine National Anthem, or the "Lupang Hinirang" by La Diva, which is not new, it already happened before when Martin Nievera sung the national Anthem during the Pacquiao - Hatton fight, last May 2, 2009. The controversy was not that sensational, may be because most of the Filipinos were still in cloud 9 due to the Pacman's victory, but for me, it was so annoying and I have to say something. I guess most of our Kabayans feel the same way too.
The National Historical Institute (NHI) said that the singers have violated Section 37 of Republic Act 8491, or the 1998 Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines, which states that the rendition of the national anthem, whether played or sung, should be in accordance with the original musical arrangement of Julian Felipe, which follows a marching-type beat. Violators may be imprisoned for not more than a year and fined at least 20,000 pesos.
I believe that the Flag and Heraldic code of the Philippines is flawed, and should be revised to fit modern times. Funny, It's just over 10 years ago since that Republic Act became a law, they should have thought about "The Modern Filipino" when they created this law.
In the United States of America, singers there can sing the American Anthem, or the "Star Spangled Banner" their own way, depending on which genres they categorized themselves. I'm not sure, but I don't think they have a law that requires them to sing their national anthem in a specific way like ours. But it was not always like this, in 1968 during the World Series, Jose Feliciano, sung a bluesy "Star Spangled Banner" on acoustic guitar, critics would one day hail the performance, but the Tiger Stadium crowd, booed Feliciano and his guide dog off the field, but that was 1968, more than 40 years ago, (watch Marvin Gaye's rendition of the American National Anthem during the 1983 NBA All Star Game).
When 'La Diva' sung the "Lupang Hinirang" at the start of the Pacquiao-Cotto fight in Las Vegas, I thought it was a heart-felt and amazing performance by the trio, I felt their patriotism while singing the anthem, and I can also say the same of Martin Nievera's rendition. I didn't see anything wrong with their performances, except for what has been stipulated in the law. Unless the Republic Act is not revised, this will just happen over and over again.
"LupangHinirang" by La Diva (Pacquiao-Cotto)
"Lupang Hinirang" by Martin Nievera (Pacquiao-Hatton)