Sunday, August 14, 2011


Palace denies hand in cultural center exec's resignation
Jill Beltran/Sunnex
Thursday, August 11, 2011

MALACANANG on Thursday denied involvement in the resignation of a board official of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CPP) after it agreed to hold an art exhibit scandalized Christians and Catholics.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said decision of CCP Museum and Visual Arts division head Karen Ocampo-Flores was a "personal choice" and the Malacañang did not "in any way" pressure her.

"The resignation of Ms. Flores is something that is between her and the CCP Board," Valte said adding that the Office of the Executive Secretary has not received the resignation.

President Benigno Aquino III issued no such directive for any of the CCP board members to resign even after several lawmakers called for it, Valte reiterated.

Calls for their resignation were made after they allowed the display of the art exhibit considered as “blasphemous” and “sacrilegious” mainly by conservatives and Catholic institutions.

For their part, some artist groups have cried foul over the resignation of Flores saying that it was an act of “censorship”.

Several artists and art educators who held a press conference at the University of the Philippines Thursday said that they will again show the “Kulo” exhibit on August 21, insisting freedom of expression.

“There was never any intention for it to be a form of censorship and you have to be aware also, you have to be reminded that it was the Board who made the decision to temporarily close the exhibit for security reasons,” said Valte.

President Aquino earlier said that his support to close the exhibit was not a form of censorship. He said as an institution funded by public money, it is apt that the cultural center be used in the service of the people and not to offend any organization or religious group.

Flores, a granddaughter of the late National Artist for Visual Arts Hernando “HR” Ocampo, reportedly resigned due to “too much pressure” because she was the one who approved the exhibit.

There were no reports, meanwhile, of other members of the CCP board of having plans to resign.

Valte, meanwhile, clarified that the President was not setting limits on what the CCP board should or should not display on their gallery.

“I would not go as far as taking it as a categorical directive on what and what not to exhibit…Wala naman pong any directive from the government na sabihing ‘wag pong ipalabas ‘yan—wala hong ganoong limitations. Hindi po sinabihan ‘yung mga artists na ‘wag kayong gagawa ng ganyan, ‘wag n’yong ipapalabas, ‘wag n’yong idi-display—there was nothing to that effect,” she said.

Asked on the reported criminal charges to be filed against artist Mideo Cruz before the Office of the Ombudsman, Valte said only public officials can be sued before the Ombudsman but there are instances when ordinary citizens can also be charged before the anti-graft body but only when they "conspire" with government personnel.

Roman Catholic lay groups earlier said that they would be filing criminal complaint against Cruz, 12 other people including Flores and CCP president Raul Sunico, and nine of the 10 members of the CCP board.

Malacañang earlier said that the administration is not keen on pressing any charges against Cruz and the CCP executives believing that it would amount to censorship. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)

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