Mideo Cruz a no-show at Senate hearing; Sen. Jinggoy Estrada insists CCP officials should resign
(SPOT.ph) After listening to legal experts and officials of the Cultural Center of the Philippines defend the controversial "Kulo" exhibit, Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada said that CCP executives should still resign, reports GMA News. Meanwhile, the artist in question, Mideo Cruz, failed to attend the Senate hearing on Tuesday.
In a GMA report, Estrada said: "As a Catholic I feel offended. I still stand by my call for those people responsible for showing the exhibit at the CCP (to resign)," to which CCP Chair Emily Abrera replied with a resolute, "No. And I mean that with all humility."
Abrera admitted that she was shocked when she initially saw the exhibit. "I recognized this style as being of the genre that is shock art. I did not take it as a comment against religion. I took it as his comment to society, about how society has treated the things we idolize," she said in an ABS-CBN report. In an Interaksyon report, Abrera reiterated that the CCP should uphold artistic freedom. "We should value freedom of expression in all forms of arts. If we only exhibit beautiful art as some suggest, that would be propaganda," she said.
Legal experts also defended the exhibit, saying that it did not break any laws. "The art piece in question is free speech and, therefore, entitled to the protection of the Freedom of Speech clause," said former UP College of Law dean Raul Pangalangan.
Meanwhile, Cruz explained in an e-mail to GMA News that he did not show up at the hearing because the issue was no longer about him but about "art education and the broader fight for freedom of expression." In the same e-mail, he also apologized to those he might have offended. "I apologize if I hold a contrary view to others but I honestly believe that providing a space for a different voice is necessary for a mature society," he added.
Though Sen. Edgardo Angara initially threatened to subpoena Cruz, he said it was no longer necessary, especially since a second hearing will not take place. "It's not really the artist that is under inquiry so to speak. It's really the CCP as a public institution," he said. He also deemed the issue closed and added that there was no need for the CCP officials to resign. However, Angara said the Senate still has to define how far an artist can express himself.
Watch GMA News’ report on the "Kulo" Senate hearing