Yesterday I received an email from what I assume to be a comics industry colleague, forwarding an article by Buddy Cunanan on why he will be voting for Manny Villar.
This post is not a point by point rebuttal of that forwarded article. The truth is, this is not a reaction to that article at all. I am simply offering my own separate views on why I won’t be doing the same thing.
Here was my response:
Since I received a message of endorsement for Manny Villar in a bulk email, I cannot help but offer my own opinion in return. I notice that there are many in this list who belong to the comics industry, and perhaps the art industry as a whole.
As an artist who values my freedom to express myself in my chosen field of art, I am honestly, and desperately terrified of a Manny Villar presidency. And I believe all artists in the Philippines should be.
Some of you may now no longer remember that as a Senator, Manny Villar filed a bill with the Senate called the “Anti Obscenity Bill”, or the Senate Bill 2464 where there is a strongly worded provision that portrayal of “nudity” in art will be punishable by law REGARDLESS OF THE MOTIVE of the author.
We all know the evils of pornography, and it is something I myself do not condone. But I also celebrate the beauty of art, and my God given human right to enjoy it and to create it.
As an artist, it is a bill that gravely concerns me because it has the potential to seriously curtail not only my freedoms as an artist, but my the ability to make my own choices as a mature, intelligent and moral human being.
By punishing the portrayal of nudity regardless of the motive of the author, it means nudity can no longer be portrayed by painters, filmmakers, graphic novelists, illustrators, sculptors, etc. Books on anatomy will now have to be censored, as well as medical books, history books specially on images of nudity on religious structures such as the Sistine chapel. Artists can no longer use nudity to portray innate human beauty.
Rightly so, the bill did not get the proper support in the Senate, and was shelved. Even then, by his filing of this bill, we get a definite idea of who Manny Villar is in terms of his views on art. He wants to censor it. He is of the belief that an adult Filipino is not capable of being mature enough to choose for himself (or herself) and decide for himself what to read, see, and hear. In other words, he does not believe that we can think for ourselves. He wants himself, and other people in power to think for us, and to decide for us, what is good for us or not.
This a reflection of Manny Villar’s character, and I’m sure this is how he will approach other issues as well. This has repercussions well beyond the field of art.
Manny Villar attended a Blogger’s meet last year to discuss with the youth the issues that concern them. My friend Jonas Diego attended this meet, and several times during the meet, he tried to raise the issue of the Anti Obscenity Bill. Jonas was never even given the chance to properly finish asking his question before he was waved away, his question trivialized and de-emphasized.
Not only has Villar shown that he is perfectly willing to censor the artist, he is also perfectly willing to ignore us as well.
This issue is a legitimate concern and is NOT black propaganda. It’s still up to you if you still want to vote for this man or not. But I feel that I needed to raise this issue, at least one more time just to let people become aware of just what they’re getting into.
I myself am not endorsing anyone in this election. Who I vote for remains a personal issue. This is not a campaign to steer the vote in favor of another candidate. I just feel that come election day, everyone should be made aware just who it is they’re putting into power.
Because by God, we’ll be paying for it for the next six years. Election day is the one day when we have the power. I hope and pray people use that power responsibly.