By Amita O. Legaspi – Malacañang is not in favor of having Mideo Cruz, the artist behind the “blasphemous” artwork “Poleteismo,” sanctioned, saying it would be tantamount to censorship.
At a press briefing on Wednesday, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said it is within Cruz’s right to express himself through his work.
“It is his right to express himself and if we’re going to sanction him, as far as the government is concerned, it might amount to censorship. That’s something that we are not prepared to do,” Lacierda said.
He said President Benigno Aquino III is against censorship.
“Poleteismo,” which was part of the “Kulo” exhibit displayed at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, had been the subject of controversy for supposedly insulting the Catholic faith for juxtaposing religious images with clowns, Mickey Mouse ears, and a bright red penis.
The CCP has already shut down the gallery.
Lacierda said Aquino has no plan to remove the present CCP board amid the furor created by Cruz’s artwork. He said the President already conveyed his concern to the board and asked it to be more careful in their future exhibits.
“We’d like to make sure that the taxpayers’ money is not used to offend the sensibilities of any one particular group,” Lacierda said.
Lacierda also asked the public not to threaten the CCP board and instead discuss the issue with clear heads. He said this after the CCP cited threat to persons and property as the reason behind its decision to close the gallery showing the exhibit.
“There are constitutional issues that can be discussed on a higher level rather than getting personal at the members of the board,” Lacierda said.
He added that the government is ready to protect the CCP board. “If there is any death threat on the members of the Board of Trustees of the CCP, we will be more than ready to protect them.”
Malacañang also now expects the CCP board to review their policies to avoid a similar situation from happening again.
“I heard the president of CCP, Raul Sunico, mentioned that they are going to study their objectives. They have to do some refinements on their rules and guidelines. So we expect them to review their policies,” Lacierda said.
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