Newly-appointed Justice secretary Alberto Agra said Monday his office is ready to investigate American rock band “Journey” vocalist Arnel Pineda for possible violation of Republic Act (R.A.) 8491 or the Flag and Heraldic Code.
Pineda sang the Philippine national anthem before some 50,000 fans who came to watch the Sunday fight between pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao and Ghanaian boxer Joshua Clottey at the Cowboy Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
Agra cleared, however, that a complaint should be first filed against Pineda and other concerned parties before the DOJ can investigate the matter.
The National Historical Institute (NHI) has reprimanded Pineda for singing Lupang Hinirang in a different tone and tempo. It also threatened to file charges against the singer.
Agra likewise agreed that NHI may still go after other singers like Martin Nievera who also changed the version of the national anthem during the Pacquia-Hatton fight last year, if it really intends to strictly implement Section 37 of R.A. 8491.
The said provisions states that “the rendition of the National Anthem, whether played or sung, shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe.”
Under Section 50 of R.A. 8491, violators of the said provision may be punished by a fine between P5,000 to P20,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both at the discretion of the court.
“As of now, no complaint has been filed against artists or singers who allegedly violated the Republic Act  because they sang the national anthem using a different arrangement, because under our law, it’s very clear that we have to follow the arrangement made by Julian Felipe,” Agra said.
The Justice secretary noted that the Office of the Solicitor General previously issued an opinion that singing the national anthem not in accordance with Felipe’s arrangement is a violation of the law.
But Agra admitted that government lawyers and prosecutors are confronted with legal issues such as jurisdiction, considering that the alleged offense was committed outside the Philippines.
He explained that there are two schools of thought to the latest national anthem controversy. “Even if committed (sang) abroad, it was still telecast nationwide, including the Philippines, then we have jurisdiction. The other view, strictly speaking, the crime was committed abroad, and therefore, we do not have jurisdiction,” Agra said.
He further said that the offending party might also argue that changing the arrangement of the national anthem is part of the freedom of speech and of expression that are guaranteed under the Constitution.
2 thoughts on “New DOJ chief ready to investigate Arnel Pineda”
I am with you Juan. My husband and I sat second row seats to see Arnel Pineda in concert with his band Journey and saw how proud he is to perform as a VERY PROUD FILIPINO. His rendition of the National Anthem in a wrong key is NOT a means for him to be fined or for him to be put in jail..Other artists have sung the Anthem and have admitted it themselves. Like I have said on other sites, The Philippine Governemnt is so out of touch with their own that they cannot appreciate their own treasure such as Arnel who put the Philippine name up on the pedestal…Perhaps, NHI should audition everyone who sings the anthem first before appearing in all public functions…guess what?..this will STOP Filipinos from singing Lupang Hinirang and from going back to the Philippines who used to love their own country…
FILIPINO CRAB MENTALITY
That’s not the way to treat our Fellow Filipinos!
I am very disappointed with the new DOJ Secretary Alberto Agra and National Historical Institute’s Teddy Pineda with the way they show dismay to fellow Filipino artist Arnel Pineda’s rendition of the Philippine National Anthem at Pacquiao’s recent fight.
Why tell the whole world how bad the rendition was by our Filipino performer who just came-out to give his full support to our boxing hero.
Why not invite Arnel or the other singers who sang our national anthem the wrong way to a meeting in your respective offices and discuss concerns like civilized people.
They shouldn’t be treated like criminals.
We should show Love, help and support each other! Not bring down each other!
Stop that CRAB MENTALITY !
Mabuhay ang mga Filipino !