Eva Darren’s Son Calls Out FAMAS Over Her Last-Minute Removal From Presenters List

Fernando says what happened was “rude, disrespectful, unethical, and unprofessional”

Eva Darren’s son, Fernando de la Peña, called out the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) for replacing the veteran actress without prior notice or explanation during the 72nd awarding ceremony on Sunday, May 26, 2024. 

In a lengthy Facebook statement, Fernardo reveals how Eva—a household name in the Philippine showbiz industry—was allegedly disrespected by the award-giving body for getting replaced by a newbie singer, who was later known to be Sheena Palad. 

According to him, Eva received an invitation from FAMAS a couple of months ago to be a presenter with veteran actor Tirso Cruz. Much to the actress’s elation, she then agreed, prepared for the ceremony, and memorized her lines but was let down at the last minute. 

Eva Darren with son Fernando de la Peña
Eva Darren, Fernando de la Peña
IMAGE: Fernando de la Peña on Facebook

As he puts it, “Mom was excited, bought the best dress and pair of heels she could afford and topped that with a nice package of hair and makeup for the gala. During the event, she brought along three of her very proud grandkids. 

“With a price tag of P5,000 ($90) per plate for four people, needless to say, it was not a cheap evening. It was all worth it though. After all, the last time she was onstage during a FAMAS awards night was back in 1969 when she received the coveted ‘Best Supporting Actress Award’ for her role in the movie ‘ANG PULUBI (The Beggar) opposite legendary actress Charito Solis 

“Being the true professional that my mother is, she memorized and rehearsed her script to perfection, braved the downpour of a Signal No. 1 Typhoon warning and drove to the Manila Hotel.

“After the glitz and glamor shot with air-cheek-kisses and what not, everyone eventually took their seats and the awarding commenced. During the point where she was supposed to present an award, her partner, Mr. Tirso Cruz III went upstage with an upcoming young singer instead. Not my mom. My mother never went on the stage.” 

As for Fernando’s post, the press relations officer who reached out to Eva didn’t have a sound reason for the fiasco—only apologies coupled with uncertainty as to why there were last-minute changes in the lineup. 

Fernando continues, “My mom said ‘It’s okay’ but decided to leave nonetheless. I couldn’t blame her. Staying around was just rubbing salt on her FAMAS-inflicted wounds.”

In an outright expression of his dismay, Fernando adds, “You would think and assume that a ‘prestigious award-giving body’ who had been doing the same thing every year, over and over without fail, would have mastered their craft after 72 years. But no, not this entity. 

“To all of you people behind FAMAS, you cannot do this to an icon of Philippine Cinema. It is RUDE… It is DISRESPECTFUL… It is UNETHICAL… it is UNPROFESSIONAL to say the very least!!!

“I can think of a hundred other words to describe what FAMAS did to my mother, even contemplated on legal actions for a second or two. But my sister, a devout Christian, told me to leave it to the hands of God. And so I will.” 

FAMAS issues apology over fiasco with Eva Darren 

The award-giving body has responded via Facebook and issued a statement regarding the incident. According to them, the team had a hard time locating Eva—prompting the production to go with another presenter they handpicked last minute.

The post reads, “FAMAS would like to express its sincerest apologies to Miss Eva Darren, an icon in Philippine Movie Industry and a professional actress whose career is indubitably worthy of emulation. 

“She was part of the program in last night’s Awards Night and was supposed to present Special Citations with Mr. Tirso Cruz III. But considering that we were running in a live show, and due to myriads of people present in last night’s festivities, the production team was not able to locate Ms. Darren. 

“This was indeed a setback in the live show and a negligence on the part of the team. Rest assured that this was not intentional and purely a misjudgment. The show is being streamed live and needed to be remedied right away. Hence, a replacement for Miss Darren was done last minute. 

“We are writing this with a heavy heart especially after hearing that Miss Darren and her family were terribly hurt by this unintentional disregard to her presence and stature.

“We truly value Miss Darren and the rest of the veteran stars present last night true to the Homecoming Concept of the show. But as there were brilliant moments to the most star-studded awards night in recent memory, there were also hitches and unfortunate developments in a live show such as this one

“We understand that an apology alone cannot undo the damage this might have caused Miss Darren but we are committed to make amends and rebuild her trust by a personal visit of the FAMAS Board to honor her stature, if she allows it.”

FAMAS president Francia Conrad has also spoken up on the issue through a phone interview with GMA News. 

Echoing the statement, Francia says that there were some lapses that needed immediate resolution. However, she also emphasized that the incident was not deliberately orchestrated—and that they are willing to pay Eva a visit, “kung kailangan, bibisitahin namin sila.” 

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