National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose said officials of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) should have been more perceptive in determining what kind of art should be put on public view to avoid the controversies like the one sparked by the “blasphemous” mixed media collage of Mideo Cruz entitled “Poleteismo.”
During the three-hour discussion among national artists, constitutional experts, and CCP officials conducted by the Senate committee on education, arts, and culture on clamor for legislation to regulate exhibits and performances, Sionil Jose called the work in the controversial “Kulo” exhibit as made by a “juvenile, immature” artist Rev. Jose Palma, vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), called on the Senate to craft a legislation that would uphold freedom of expression but would set parameters to promote respect for religious beliefs.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senate President Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada called for CCP officials to resign for allowing the public exhibition of “blasphemous” art.
Senator Edgardo Angara, chairman of the committee, said there is no need for legislation but only for a review of the policies employed by the CCP in the selection of exhibits and performances to prevent another controversy.
Emily Abrera, CCP chairperson, assured the Senate and the public that CCP policies are undergoing review.