MANILA, Philippines – Freddie Aguilar said that if he had it his way, he would just switch the José Rizal monument and the carabao statue as a fix to what critics call the "photobombing" by the Torre de Manila condominium in Rizal Park's skyline.
In an interview with TV 5, the singer, who claims to be up for a position in the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), was asked about the issue.
“Kung ako po ang masusunod – ito po ay personal na opinyon ko lang po – para wala nang gulo, pagpapalitin ko po yung puwesto ng kalabaw tsaka ni [Jose] Rizal.
(If I would have it my way – this is just my personal opinion only – so there will be no more problem, I'll just switch the location of the carabao and [Jose] Rizal.)
"Gayun lang po kasimple," he said. (It's that simple.)
"Yung kalabaw po, ililipat ko po doon si Rizal. Para si Rizal sa atin, hindi nakaharap sa malayo, at ‘yung kalabaw po yung nakaharap sa malayo,” he added.
(The carabao, I'll switch it with Rizal. Rizal would be facing us, not facing the distance, and then the carabao would be the one facing far.)
Aguilar's proposal drew mixed reactions on social media.
The statement of Freddie Aguilar towards the issue about Torre de Manila aka Rizal's Photobomber — Karylle Ashley ♡ (@RiveraKarylle) July 16, 2016
Nastress ako kay Freddie Aguilar re: Torre De Manila issue. Ugh — a l e x a n d r a (@karadoodle) July 16, 2016
So si Dr. Jose Rizal po ang mag aadjust? Ang kasaysayan po ang mag aadjust? Tsk. https://t.co/i8S40Q80Ed — Dexter Baño (@DexterKnowsIt) July 16, 2016
In June 2015, the Supreme Court a temporary restraining order (TRO) to halt further construction of the condominium.
In a previous Rappler report from August 2015, the Office of the Solicitor General said the construction of Torre de Manila is "illegal" and should be removed because it violates constitutional provisions on the preservation of cultural artifacts.
Last July 11, Aguilar, who is behind the hit song "Anak," said that he was offered a position in NCCA, specifically to lead the government agency.
"Meron po akong hiningi sa kanya. Gusto ko po ay bigyan niya ng isang departamento ang kultura at sining natin," he said.
(I asked him for something. I want him to create a department for culture and the arts.)
In a text message to BusinessWorld, incumbent NCCA chairman Felipe de Leon Jr stated that "the position of NCCA chairman is not appointive, according to Republic Act 7356. The chairman is elected by the Board of Commissioners."
"There are 4 levels of elections – general assembly, committee membership, committee chairmanship, and head of a subcommission – before you can be a member of the Board, who will then elect its Chair.
"The committee members are fiercely independent artists and cultural workers who will always like to choose their own leaders."
De Leon also added: "The President has not made any formal announcement that he has appointed Mr Aguilar. Doing that would be patently illegal. I suppose the President will respect the law."
The NCCA, according to its website, is the "overall policy making body, coordinating, and grants giving agency for the preservation, development and promotion of Philippine arts and culture; an executing agency for the policies it formulates; and tasked to administering the National Endowment Fund for Culture and the Arts (NEFCA) fund exclusively for the implementation of culture and arts programs and projects." – Rappler.com