Eva Darren’s family reacts to FAMAS apology over ‘disrespectful’ treatment of veteran actress during awards night


Eva Darren’s family has responded to the apology issued by the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) over its “unprofessional” treatment of the veteran actress. Initially slated as an award presenter at the 72nd FAMAS awards night, she was reportedly replaced at the last minute without any explanation.

The apology came after Darren’s son, Fernando De La Pena, shared a post on his Facebook account detailing his mother’s excitement and meticulous preparation for the event.

“My mother, Eva Darren, a veteran actress of the Philippine movie industry, having performed on the big screen and television for more than five decades, usually does not attend social events. She loves the simple pleasures in life being surrounded by family,” Fernando wrote.

De la Pena recounted how his mother had eagerly anticipated the invitation.

“A couple of months ago, she received a notice of invitation for the FAMAS awards night. For those of you who aren’t familiar, FAMAS (Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Awards) is the equivalent of the USA’s Oscar Awards,” he described the prestigious award-giving body.

According to Fernando, his mother invested in a new outfit, hair, and makeup, and brought her grandchildren to share in the special occasion, even with an accompanying fee of P5,000 for each attendee.

Despite the adverse weather conditions and the effort involved, Darren was determined to attend and had even memorized her script for the presentation as an awards presenter together with another veteran actor, Mr. Tirso Cruz III at the Manila Hotel.

However, Darren’s efforts were in vain as she was unable to appear on stage during the awards ceremony. She was replaced by rising singer Sheena Palad.

“The PR officer of FAMAS who had been in constant communication with my mother prior to the event had absolutely no explanations to offer, just a thousand apologies. He confessed not knowing what happened and wasn’t sure why there was a last-minute change,” De La Pena narrated.

The actress decided to leave the event as her son wrote, “staying around was just rubbing salt on her FAMAS-inflicted wounds”.

De La Pena called out the award-giving body for their action to the actress, saying “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!!!”

This led FAMAS to issue a public apology to Darren, acknowledging the oversight and the inconvenience it caused.

In a lengthy statement addressing the incident, FAMAS explained that they were “not able to locate” Darren during the event, attributing her absence to the challenges inherent in the live broadcast and the bustling atmosphere of the occasion.

“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,” FAMAS stated.

“[C]onsidering that we were running 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,” it said.

The organization extended its sincerest apologies to Darren and her family, highlighting its acknowledgment in honoring Darren and other veteran stars present during the event which featured a “homecoming concept”.

“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.”

FAMAS further expressed its regrets by offering Darren a “personal visit of the FAMAS Board” to “honor her stature”.

Additionally, the young singer who replaced Darren clarified the situation through her boyfriend, Johann Enriquez.

Johann explained on Facebook that Sheena was on standby for a performance and was asked last minute to present the award. He urged people to stop blaming Sheena, emphasizing that it wasn’t her fault and expressing empathy for the veteran actress and her family.

“She was on standby for a prod number and was informed on the spot to present with sir Tirso Cruz III. And I’m sure FAMAS will take this mishap seriously and responsibly,” explained Johann.

He continued, “I deeply empathize with Madam Eva Darren and the whole family. I’m sure I would have felt the same resentment had it happened on our end. But please, let’s stop the hate and keep supporting each other, countrymen! All for the Philippine movie and entertainment industry.”

Sheena also addressed the online harassment she has faced due to the incident, expressing her reliance on her faith in Jesus Christ to cope with the negativity.

“I am being harassed, maligned, called names and thrown offensive accusations today online and ALL I CAN SAY IS… Buti na lang may Lord Jesus Christ ako sa buhay ko,” she said.

She urged people not to judge quickly and reflected on the suffering of her Savior, which she felt put her own troubles into perspective.

“It’s also a lesson for everybody to not QUICKLY judge a person. And makes me think too that what I’m going through doesn’t even come close to what my Savior had to go through when He suffered and died on the cross for me,” stated Sheena.

Meanwhile, Darren’s family expressed their gratitude and acceptance of FAMAS’ apology highlighting the overwhelming support they have received from friends and netizens.

In De la Pena’s separate post, he underscored Darren’s resilience, and reminisced about his childhood which involved safekeeping his mother’s 1969 FAMAS trophy, which he described as one of their family’s “very few treasured possessions”.

“We revered FAMAS and everything it stands for. This is why what happened to my mother, in the eyes of our family, was incomprehensible, unexpected, unimaginable,” he expressed.

“I firmly believe that what hurt my mother the most is disappointing her apos who tagged along in the hopes of seeing grandma on stage,” he added.

Nevertheless, De la Pena expressed their family’s acceptance of FAMAS’s apology and hoped for better-managed future events, offering two humble suggestions for the 73rd FAMAS Awards Night.

“Please stick to the script…and maybe a nice pair of eyeglasses for all in charge,” De La Pena remarked.

Patricia Dela Roca
Patricia Dela Roca
Patricia Dela Roca is a content producer with nerdy tendencies. She tends to lose herself in writing, films, fictional novels, video games, and in her Kpop bias' eyes.