Press Release
August 17, 2011


The Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture and Committee on Public Information concluded that there is no need for a second public hearing regarding the controversial exhibit "Kulo" as yesterday's dialogue adequately heard all stakeholders, said committee Chairs Senators Edgardo J. Angara and Gregorio Honasan II.

Angara added that the committees will evaluate the testimonies and position papers of all resource persons regarding two aspects: The role of the Cultural Center of the Philippines as a public institution, and the freedom of artistic expression and respect of religious icons.

"We believe we have already pursued all lines of inquiry - legal, moral, artistic and administrative processes - even if the artist, Mideo Cruz, was not present himself, because it is not really the artist who is the subject of the inquiry," said Angara.

He stressed that the hearing was meant to be a venue for sober and respectful discourse, and not or prosecution. "We meant to shed light on this controversy and inform the public about the different stories behind this issue. No matter how controversial the issues, the dialogue was conducted in an atmosphere of respect, wit and insight."

The inquiry was in relation to a group exhibition held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) that included the installation "Politeisimo" by artist Mideo Cruz which allegedly juxtaposed certain religious images in a sacrilegious way.

CCP Chair Emily A. Abrera and President Raul M. Sunico attended the hearing along with Board of Trustees Flor Rosario-Braid, Arsenio Lizaso, Isabel Caro Wilson, Zenaida Tantoco, Cristina Turalba, Antonio Yap and Carolyn Espiritu.

Other stakeholders present were National Commission for Culture and the Arts chair Prof. Felipe M. de Leon; Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, vice president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines; Vice Rector Pablo T. Tiong of the University of Sto. Tomas; former UP College of Law Dean Raul Pangalangan; Constitutional professor Atty. Florin Hilbay; National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose; National Artist for Visual Arts Abdulmari Imao; Prof. Cecilia dela Paz, chair of the UP Department of Art Studies; and Manolo Dayrit, chair of the Ang Kapatiran Party which has filed a complaint with the Ombudsman against CCP officials.

Angara said new legislation may not be necessary, but he urged the CCP to review rethink its administrative policies on selecting artworks and performances for public exhibition. F. Sionil Jose contended that Cruz's work was not the best example of good art.

"As the best know public exhibition hall of the country, the public expects nothing less than the highest standards," said Angara.

He also called for calm amid the growing tension, saying: "I would rather let the power of public opinion be the judge and measure of the performance of artists. I do not believe we have to impose sanctions and criminalize bad judgment of cultural administrators and artists.

"It is not fair to bring down an entire institution just because one artist's work appears offensive. The CCP's purpose is larger than that, in the same way the freedom of expression transcends this single incident," added Angara.

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