Senators Estrada and Sotto threaten to slash CCP budget, Estrada says "blasphemous" art piece could only have been done by demon who surface

(SPOT.ph) Prior to the exhibit's closure yesterday, August 9, Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada and Majority Leader Tito Sotto called for the removal of the artworks and  to slash the Cultural Center of the Philippines' 2012 budget, reports The Philippine Star.

 

On Monday, August 8, Sotto threatened to shut down the cultural center should its officials fail to explain how they allowed profanity to be shown, reports GMA News. "(If it will be like this), as majority floor leader I will make sure that the CCP will cease to exist in the General Appropriations Act," he said, adding, "Can you do this image to Mohammad? Can this be done to the image of Buddha? Neither should it be done to the image of Jesus."

 

According to The Philippine Star, Estrada said the "blasphemous" works could "only be done by a person who was out of his mind and a demon who surfaced from hell." In his privilege speech yesterday, according to another GMA News article, the senator also called for the CCP board of directors to resign after they failed to be more "discerning" with the exhibits they choose to display.

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Meanwhile, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said in a GMA report: "(The directors) ought to be fired from their job... That kind of exhibit was never envisioned by those who created the CCP." While he respects Mideo Cruz's right to express himself artistically, Enrile said the artist must also "respect the sensibilities of the people around him." Sen. Joker Arroyo echoed his colleague's sentiments. "We should understand that the defense of the artist was not freedom of expression but artistic expression... We cannot apply every American style to our system because we have a different country," he said.

 

CCP officials, however, explained the reason for displaying "Kulo" in a press statement published on their website. "In keeping with previous practice to evaluate merits of art works on the basis of established parameters, the CCP Visual Arts Division, headed by Karen Ocampo-Flores, approved the proposal to exhibit on the basis of an evaluation of their proposal as well as the background qualifications of the participating artists." The center decided to shut down the exhibit due to the increasing number of threats made to people and property. Earlier reports showed that Cruz received death threats for his artworks; the exhibit was also vandalized a few days ago.

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For more on this story, log on to The Philippine Star and GMA News.

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