Lawmaker wants CCP head to resign over ‘blasphemous’ exhibit
MANILA, Philippines—Manila Representative Amado Bagatsing demanded on Sunday the resignation of the Cultural Center of the Philippines chairman, Raul Sunico, and other officials of the state-run corporation for allowing an art exhibit that desecrated Jesus Christ and the Holy Family in the name of Christianity.
Bagatsing was particularly enraged by a crucifix with a penis glued on Christ’s face and a Christ the King figurine with rabbit ears.
“Binaboy nang husto si Cristo (They defaced, degraded Christ),” Bagatsing told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “CCP is supposed to promote the positive side of culture and arts. They did the exact opposite.”
Bagatsing said he would deliver a privilege speech on Monday to condemn the “Kulo” exhibit by a group of artists from the University of Sto. Tomas, demand the resignation of CCP officials and conduct an investigation into the issue. The exhibit opened last June 17 and will run until August 21.
“One of the artists involved in the exhibit is a certain Mideo Cruz, pangalan pa mandin Cruz. It’s a total affront to Christianity and to the Catholics in particular,” said Bagatsing, a devout Catholic.
“These CCP officials should be answerable to the people. That’s not promoting our culture and art. Ang pangit at ang laswa-laswa (it’s ugly and lewd),” he stressed.
Bagatsing said the exhibit had also incurred the ire of the leaders of the Catholic Church, which protested it and described it as “blasphemous.”
Various groups, including Pro-life Philippines, have been mulling filing charges against the artist and the CCP for what they said was a “sacrilegious” exhibit and have demanded to stop the exhibit in 48 hours or face the legal consequences, Bagatsing said.
Bagatsing also recalled a similar incident in South Africa three years ago wherein a teacher in a classroom named a teddy bear as “Allah,” creating an uproar among Muslims worldwide because it is their name for God.
“The entire Christianity takes offense to this exhibit. It should be stopped immediately,” Bagatsing said.
Last week, two unidentified persons reportedly defaced a controversial exhibit of Cruz in an apparent attack on the artworks’ contents. Vandals wrote words on his pieces in Poleteismo.
“They wrote na ‘bakla’ ako, na ‘sumpain’ ako (that I’m gay and that I should be cursed)…They damaged the phallic symbols,” Cruz said in a television interview.
The CCP is now investigating the matter but has not closed down the exhibit.
Bagatsing said a survey by another television network indicated that 93 percent of the audience were displeased and outraged by the exhibit and wanted CCP to stop it.
Other reports likewise quoted lawyer Jo Imbong, executive director of the St. Thomas More Society Inc., as having said that the CCP should not have allowed such an exhibit in the first place.
“It was created by law and funded by our taxes for the purpose of awakening the consciousness of our people to our cultural heritage,” Imbong said.
“Is it our cultural heritage to mock and insult religious personages and icons? Is it aesthetic to vandalize a venerated representation of objects of worship and reverence? Are vulgarity and blasphemy a Filipino value? What Filipino pride can emerge for such works? Is this our national identity? And CCP promotes it?” Ms. Imbong asked.
Imbong said those responsible for the exhibit also violated Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code on Immoral Exhibitions.
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