Former President Joseph Estrada gave Dolphy a “People’s Artist Award” during the necrological service for the fallen comedian on Friday night at the Heritage Park chapel in Taguig.
Zsa Zsa Padilla, Dolphy’s partner for the last 23 years, received the award from Estrada, who had called for the conferment of the National Artist award on Dolphy in the weeks leading up to the latter’s death on Tuesday.
Estrada said he gave the award on behalf of the non-profit group Dakilang Lahi Foundation to compensate for the present administration’s failure to honor Dolphy with the National Artist award.
“The National Artist award for Dolphy is long overdue. Nalungkot ako nang hindi naibigay ‘yon sa kanya habang buhay siya,” he told reporters.
Estrada joined Dolphy’s colleagues from Sampaguita Pictures and the sitcom “John en Marsha” in paying tribute to the Comedy King.
Like Dolphy, Estrada began his acting career in the 1950s, although he was a contract star of Sampaguita’s rival studio, LVN Pictures.
In his eulogy, he joked that he and Dolphy shared one vice, meaning their weakness for beautiful women.
Naturally, it drew laughs from the crowd of celebrity mourners that included Susan Roces, Robert Arevalo, Barbara Perez, Eddie Gutierrez, Bella Flores, Celia Rodriguez, and German Moreno.
Moreno praised Dolphy’s portrayals of gay characters in movies like “Jack en Jill”, “Facifica Falayfay”, and “Ang Tatay Kong Nanay” and said they helped Filipinos accept homosexuality.
Kaye Torres spoke on behalf of her late mother Nida Blanca, Dolphy’s leading lady in “John en Marsha”. She said she is happy that Dolphy, whom she considered her second father, and Nida are now together in heaven.
Meanwhile, Eric Quizon has announced that his father’s burial on Sunday will be a private affair and only relatives and friends of the family will be let inside Heritage Park. He advised the public to just watch the event live on television.
Dolphy’s casket will be transported on a horse-drawn carriage to his tomb inside the memorial park, some 100 meters away from the chapel.