MANILA – Three artists, not just one, will sing the country’s national anthem in Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao’s much anticipated showdown with Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto on November 14 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The people’s champ confirmed to abs-cbnNEWS.com in an exclusive interview that “La Diva,” dubbed as the Destiny’s Child of the Philippines,” will sing “Lupang Hinirang” in the Pacquiao-Cotto “Firepower” clash.
The pop girl group is composed of “Pinoy Pop Superstar” champions Jonalyn Viray (soprano), Aicelle Santos (alto) and Maricris Garcia (mezzo-soprano).
Viray is the 1st grand champion of the singing contest, while Garcia is the 3rd Pinoy Pop Superstar champion. Santos, on the other hand, was a runner-up in the second season.
Pacquiao said the three auditioned in the early part of this year. Other artists from networks ABS-CBN and GMA 7 also took part in the audition, he said. The boxer cited Jolina Magdangal as one of those who wanted to sing the national anthem.
The Filipino boxing icon was particularly impressed by the “La Diva” when he saw them perform. He added that he believes “La Diva” will do justice in singing “Lupang Hinirang” next month.
The boxing champion also admitted that he was told that international singers Charice and Lea Salonga were interested in singing the national anthem for the fight.
"Pero hindi ko naman sila nakausap. Kung nakausap ko, siguro sila. Pero ‘yong ‘La Diva’ kasi, na-oo-han ko na. Mahirap naman at baka masabi wala akong isang salita," Pacquiao explained.
According to law
To avoid any controversy like what happened to Nievera when he sang “Lupang Hinirang” in Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton bout on May 2, Pacman assured that the trio group will sing the national anthem according to what the law prescribes.
The National Historical Institute (NHI) lambasted Nievera for his alleged "wrong" rendition of the "Lupang Hinirang."
Critics said Nievera sang the first part of the song too slowly and should not have belted out the last words of the song.
The NHI said this constituted a violation of 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 P20,000.--Reyma Buan-Deveza and Trina Lagura, abs-cbnNEWS.com.