Criminal law professor questions constitutionality of the crime of “offending religious feelings”

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By Raïssa Robles

The crime of “offending religious feelings” – for which Carlos Celdran was convicted is unconstitutional – believes Ibarra Gutierrez III, a criminal law professor at the University of the Philippines.

“I don’t think it’s constitutional,” he told me in an interview.

 

Gutierrez gave several reasons.

“First of all, it is strangely placed. It appears in one chapter of the Revised Penal Code – under “Crimes Against the Fundamental Laws of the State. Look at the other crimes (under this section). They all refer to a situation where a government official violates the Bill of Rights such as arbitrary detention, illegal search and seizure.

At the very last (of the same section), you have a crime that does not punish a government official who commits crimes against the Bill of Rights but a crime that offends religious feelings.

I looked and indeed the provision was strangely placed, tacked on like an afterthought.

The Bill of Rights does mention religion but only with respect to a person’s right to freely exercise it.

Prof. Gutierrez also expressed the belief that the State

“has no business prosecuting crimes anchoring on religious feelings. The problem is, it calls upon the court to make a determination of what the religious faithful will find offensive…what will ridicule the church.”

He said this would mean that the court would have to make a judgment in relation to doctrines of a particular church.

Third, he called the crime “archaic” and a throwback to the Spanish colonial period when the native population in the Philippines was ruled by a theocracy and Church and State were one.

To non-lawyers like me, the name “Revised Penal Code” was highly misleading since it initially gave me the impression the revision was recent. It turns out our Code of Crimes was last revised back in 1930 yet. It replaced the previous Spanish Penal Code but apparently carried over quite a number of the latter’s provisions.

I asked Prof. Gutierrez to recall previous cases where the court ruled that religious feelings were offended.

He said one case was penned by the late Justice Jose P. Laurel before World War II. It involved a man who had a non-Catholic buried with Catholic rites in a Catholic cemetery.

Another more recent case involved a man who – during a religious rally of the Iglesia ni Cristo, had climbed the stage and started debating with the church minister. In that case, he said, the lower court convicted the man. But on appeal, he was acquitted because the judge ruled that a religious rally held in a public plaza is not a religious ceremony, he explained.

So I guess Prof. Gutierrez has just answered a question I had posed earlier – if the Catholic Church chooses to have an outdoor religious ceremony-cum-rally against the reproductive health law, can those who might hold counter-rallies in the vicinity be held liable for offending religious feelings?

Gutierrez added that even if the Church holds a mass during a public rally, the gathering cannot be considered a “religious ceremony” defined under Section 133. “Not even if you do something offensive,” he said.

Still another case of initial conviction involved a drunken man who had entered a church while singing was going on during a service and who tried to grab the mike. The Court of Appeals reversed his initial conviction and said he was not guilty of offending religious feelings because his intention was not to ridicule the church beliefs. He was just drunk .

In the case of Carlos Celdran, Gutierrez said:

“I would assume, the decision (of the judge) zeroed in more on his action – the mode he had adopted to get his particular message across, the fact that he had disrupted a mass – more than on his purpose.”

Celdran said he will appeal his case. He had earlier apologized for disrupting an ecumenical service inside the Manila Cathedral two years ago by holding up a sign with the word “Damaso” on it and yelling at senior Catholic clerics to stop meddling in politics by trying to block the passage of a reproductive health law.

I guess Celdran had also touched a sensitive spot. The Church would rather forget the oppressive role it played during the Spanish colonial period, which national hero Dr. Jose Rizal had satirized in the two novels that the Church also tried to ban from being read in schools.   Celdran twisted the knife in by dressing up like Rizal on the day he was executed for crimes against the State and the Church.

The one-man protest landed Celdran briefly in jail, which he cut short by posting bail.

Celdran then said:

“I really am sorry for the method but I hope you heard my message loud and clear. My message is unapologetic. But for interrupting the mass and ruining your day, sorry about that.”

Gutierrez noted that theoretically, Celdran can post bail despite his conviction, “while he is appealing the case.”

_____________________________________________

Related Story:

Uh, Oh – Who will be jailed next for “offending religious feelings”?

480 Responses to “Criminal law professor questions constitutionality of the crime of “offending religious feelings””

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  1. 63
    Kajames says:

    Mama Mary Hater

    Carlos Celdran alleged “SIN” is nothing compared to the SIN of the asshole who posted this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4E87qFgMz0. Pls.somebody shutdown the ASSHOLE already!

  2. 62
    baycas says:

    Napi-feel ko na ito. Ramdam ko na ang passion ng mga tao dito sa blog ni Ma’am Raissa…nagngangalit…

    Kaya nai-poste ko ito:

    baycas says:
    January 26, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Relax my friends. We only have the corrupt public officials as our enemies.

    Enjoy a joke to simmer down for…

    …a sense of humor is the main measure of sanity.

    - Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72

    Thank you, sane people.

    (Nothing’s a-brewing, just anticipating…)

    Katotong Parekoy, jokes naman diyan uli.

    Para mahimasmasan naman tayo…

    We sure need a breather.

    • 62.1
      Parekoy says:

      check ko muna kung makapasok. hinaharang muna kasi ni Lord sa ulap…

    • 62.2
      jeproks2002 says:

      celdran could have opted for other ways to protest. he had sent his message and he has no regrets. hindi naman daw nagkagulo ang mga pari. they were more surprised than shocked i think. perhaps celdran should have adopted another “war” strategy – let the adversary fight among themselves.
      how do you make priests fight among themselves? throw a young boy in front of the bishops and priests.

      im sure this wouldn’t be “notoriously offensive”.

  3. 61
    letlet says:

    In Comparison

    Occupy protesters chain themsleves To St. Paul’s pulpit ( a Church of England Cathedral, seat of Bishop of London

    The Traditional solemnity of St Paul’s Sunday evensong was disrupted when four members of the Occupy London Movement, which camped outside the cathedral for FOUR months chained themselves to the base of the pulpit.

    When the choir sang, four women dressed in white shouted their own semon to mark the anniversary of the start of of the Occupycamp outside St Paul’s accusing the cathedral authoriries of colluding with banks and failing to help the poor.

    Occupy was right – all the church could say was “go home, leave the premises or face court action.

    Source: guardian.co.uk, 2012 October 14, Occupy protest
    —————-

    The Occupy London Movement campaign and the actions they undertook are much heavy handed , yet the police tried to disperse them later on, but no charges. Celdran’s “offense” is considerably lighter than Occupy London yet he was charged and sentenced for jailtime for about a year.Are British authoriries/ judges more compassionate, forgiving, and merciful than the Filipinos? Do Filipino judges charge the offenders with sentences based on their economic and social status?.

    The Pope pardoned ex-butler who stole, leaked documents. Again , it tells of forgiveness, mercy and compassion to the church’s flocks. Right there and then, when celdran was arrested by police, the cathedral priest could have said to the arresting officer ” we don’t want him charged, let him go home, will discuss the matter with him tomorrow, we’ll deal with him”. The church should practice what it preaches to the flocks.

  4. 60
    vander anievas says:

    sa totoo lang, humanga ako sa bilis ng mga pangyayari. hanga ako sa ating korte ngayon. mabilis ang paghatol. may improvement na yata. uunlad na ang bansa…
    no more “justice delayed, justice denied” era.
    itong kaso ni caloy ay ni wala sa kalingkingan ng marami pang kaso na nakabimbin sa ating mga korte. hindi ko naman sinasabing mas dapat unahin o mas dapat pag-ukulan ng malaking pansin ang ibang kaso. humanga lang talaga ako sa bilis nang pagkakahatol. hindi ko naman siya kinakampihan. mali namang gumawa ng alingasngas sa isang taimtim na pook, maging ikaw man ay isang kapatid sa isang pribadong kongregasyon. mali namang pagbintangan na padre damaso ang hindi naman tunay na damaso.
    great, may improvement na sa ating hudikatura. oee!!
    ano ito? ganti ba ito sa pagkakapasa ng rhbill na dahilan ng pag-iingay ni caloy?
    o isang pagkakataon lamang?
    totoo, para sa akin ay nakagawa si caloy ng isang bagay na labag. labag sa gmrc. labag sa kagandahang-asal. nag-ingay siya. nanakit ng damdamin ng ating kapatiran.
    bakit sila nasaktan? nabasa rin ba nila ang nobela ni gat jose rizal? sila rin ba ay katulad ni padre damaso? ganoon na ba talaga kasama ang maihambing kay padre damaso mahigit ng isang siglong nakakaraan?
    tayo ba ay mga isip-bata na sa ganun lang na masamang asal ay magpapakulong na?
    ang isang community service ay sapat na sa aking palagay.
    napakaraming heinous crimes na ang may kagagawan ay hindi naipapakulong.
    hindi ito tagumpay ng isang matalinong paghuhusga, sa tingin ko ito ay isa na namang produkto ng kapritso na kawangki ng panahon ng mga mapuputing binti.
    ang dapat nating ipakulong ay iyong mga nagnanakaw sa kaban ng ating bayan.
    iyong mga nandaraya sa halalan.
    iyong mga pumapatay.
    iyong mga nanghahalay.
    iyong mga nam-bu-bully sa pribado man o publiko.
    si padre damaso ay matagal nang namatay. huwag na nating buhayin.
    o baka naman si padre damaso ay sadyang buhay pa. ay sino naman kaya si padre damaso sa makabagong panahong ito? sino siya? sino ka? sino ka? sumagot ka…magpakilala ka sa amin…

  5. 59
    Rolly says:

    Law is Law and people should abide by it. What about if a certain Law is oppressive, discriminating, despotic, broad and ill-defined?

    Ikaw Rolly na isang kahig isang tuka, ginulo mo ako habang nanalangin sa loob ng simbahan…sinaktan mo ang aking damdamin. Mayaman ako, kita mo, nababalot ako ng mga alahas…ipakukulong kita! Ikaw naman Pepe, kahit mayaman ka rin at meyor ng Babuyan Island, ididemanda kita ng libelo dito sa Ampatuan country…tingnan ko lang kung makapanood ka pa ng Pinoy Henyo. Ikaw rin Pedro, naki like-like ka sa Facebook kay Mayor Pepe sa pagsasabing peke ang ilong ko, pati ikaw kulong.

    We don’t want this kind of Laws in our midst. We don’t want to live on the edge. We don’t want to be in constant threat of imprisonment by impulse and whims.

    My emphasis is for people to unite, help one another, yell with one voice in denouncing such Laws and hopefully dispose them altogether. Celdran incidentally opened up this resurrected Law into public view, and it is for us people (netizens especially) to act. May this case be the catalyst in the progression and improvement of forging future Laws in this rapidly changing world of ours.

    • 59.1
      leona says:

      @Rolly…as I pointed out below on @baycas’ placed Inquirer Editorial, Art. 133 RPC, factually created and resulted in an unjustified conviction based on “wonderments” on prosecution witnesses testimony of their feelings. You’re right, this Art. 133 must be repealed soon, the sooner the better for freedom of speech and of religion.

  6. 58
    Eric says:

    Did Carlos Celdran come out of the closet yet? I think he will enjoy serving his sentence.

    • 58.1
      Alan says:

      Or he might meet a lot of closet homophobes who haven’t come out yet — like you.

    • 58.2
      Baltazar says:

      @Eric,
      If we will just try to stretch our sensibilities, my position , as always is – Celdran’s sexuality has nothing to do with this freshly decided case. And in fact, the more people slap him of his sexual preference issue, the more people try to say that a third sex has no right to tell the bishops to be away from politics – which they always do by using pastoral letters and using the pulpit . Who knows, that just like what @parekoy commented, the judge might have prejudiced him based on his sexuality. ( Well, I don’t go with the idea) Nevertheless, let’s grow up! That’s not the issue. He’s been sentenced to prison – a place for blood-thirst criminals. Does that commensurate with the purported crime he committed? I am not speaking for the whole protestant. but in my case and in my denomination (Baptist), such kind of assault might just force other church attenders to move the guy away. And what happened will just be confined to the church. Well, I have just cited a very unlikely scenario because our denomination knows our rightful religious position- that is to stay away from political issues which Roman Catholics openly and oftenly do.
      And definitely no sore spot on my part why I’m defending him. I am just trying to be – please read my lips – ON TOPIC

      • 58.2.1
        Eric says:

        Pardon my sense of humor, I think we’re all adults here. No need to rub salt on a sore spot. Yeah, on topic. Congratulations for being deputized as an On Topic Police.

    • 58.3
      leona says:

      Carlos Celdran is ONE in our 80 millions plus. His fighting spirit belongs to the era of Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio!

      Now: Dr. Jose P. Rizal Andres Bonifacio Carlos Celdran ! 1896 – 2013.

      • 58.3.1
        Johnny Lin says:

        Sorry Leona, I would not go that far

        Paraphrasing Sen Lloyd Benson, Celdran is no Rizal nor Bonifacio
        He had his 15 minutes of fame, so be it

      • 58.3.2
        jcc says:

        there is really something wrong with us… we mistake a clown for a patrick henry or jose p. rizal..

        our dna is too destitute, our culture and intellect have been rewired… i see signs that we are becoming monkeys again… :)

        • 58.3.2.1
          Alan says:

          “us”? Speak for yourself, if you want to devolve into a monkey

          • 58.3.2.1.1
            jcc says:

            @alan,

            hehehe…. a typical Pinoy emo reaction.. as a GRP commenter said… since when the Filipinos follow the law anyway? except when convenient or in foreign country… celdran was found guilty.. lived with it… if your want his case overturned appeal it with all vigors, but please do not compare him with Rizal.. or Bonifacio… those are my saints and you are elevating Celdran to their status… and I am furious…

            • Alan says:

              Who’s comparing him to Rizal? I was talking about your comparing Filipinos to monkeys. So, are you a Filipino?

              • jcc says:

                read leona, a few cursor back.. :)

              • Alan says:

                What I read was
                “i see signs that we are becoming monkeys again”

                Also I note with great interest that you are apparently a Kool aid drinker of that GaRaPals cabal. Must be good for your ego

              • jcc says:

                no, i consider myself objective.. and biased at the same time…. i read GRP both for amusement and enlightenment… there are good and bad writers in that site… so there are good outputs and bad outputs too just like your site…

                but i continue reading your site and GRP because I believe I am old enough to determine what is trash and what is not.

                i think your support of celdran is trash.. but of course that is my bias… you think he is not guilty and you do not consider it your bias but an unadulterated fact. that is the difference between us…

                as regards the absence of the damaso placard in the evidence, the records though made a discourse that he was holding it. it is testimonial evidence as opposed to physical evidence. but it is evidence nonetheless.. :)

              • jcc says:

                unless of course, you are now ready to make a blanket denial that he was not holdin a Damaso placard, but only a Hello Kitty placard. :)

              • Alan says:

                Your propensity for using smileys reminds me of certain anti-RH trolls of the dullard kind that I used to encounter in FB, but anyhoo, have you even been reading my posts? I said that Celdran, if he did commit a crime, doesn’t merit imprisonment but a fine for disturbance. Also the law he was convicted under is archaic, and benefits the Catholic church.

                Speaking of trash, I was reading with great interest your entire circumlocutious confabulation about the meaning of “Damaso” — it was amusing because clearly you never read the decision, where the witnesses said they hadn’t the faintest idea what Damaso meant, and the judge didn’t read anything more into the word Damaso than the fact that it was used in an annoying way. I dearly and earnestly hope it isn’t with that kind rigor that you “objectively” read blogs.

                But in case we wander too much from my point, this is what you said that I reacted to “i see signs that we are becoming monkeys again”

                And again, I say – speak for yourself

              • jcc says:

                @alan,

                Your opinion and my opinion about Celdran case are immaterial.. It is only the opinion of the court that matters…

                That he was found guilty – and you want it overturned on lofty claim of press freedom.

                We can delude ourselves as to the facts of the case, but those are irrelevant… It is only them who will say what are those facts.

                BTW, I have no problem becoming a monkey, but I pity those who already are and still not fully realizing it… :)

            • Alan says:

              I’ve established you never read the decision, and now I know further you’ve never read anything I posted because I’ve never at all mentioned press freedom in any of my posts on this issue. I don’t like the law because it is unjust and archaic.

              Also my other point is you were shall we say, improvising, about the implications of the word DAMASO in the court case. An interesting way for you to vent your own beliefs, but unfortunately not reflected by the actual document (which as we’ve established you didn’t read — I say “didn’t” because I assume you’re feverishly reading it now)

              As for your project to turning yourself into a monkey — well let us know how that turns out, OK?

              • jcc says:

                quite frankly i don’t read your comments until you bumped into my comments… i know how your mind operates and therefore would not tussle with your “genius”.. (please ignore the sarcasm, or keep patting your back might be good for your ego too. :)

                well, i like the way you argue now proving celdran innocent – and rebuke me for paraphrasing the decision. but on appeal the court will paraphrase it the way i did if it sustains the conviction. just wait for the decision on appeal or whatever.. i hope it will turn out the way you want it. argue it for “press freedom” as if it is absolute and unfettered. i hope you read authorities other than Atty. Tan and Christian Monsod.

              • Alan says:

                Well we’ve already established you have a serial record of not reading anything and then pretending to know it, so I am not exactly surprised here. Good luck on the monkey project then

              • jcc says:

                i read the decision that says he is guilty.. what you read is the decision that he was not guilty as narrated by the facts, but the dispositive portion says he is guilty. you are parsing the decision too.

                what i said is i don’t read your comments because i was petrified by your genius… :)

              • jcc says:

                but i think celdran would accept the verdict as his symphatizers were now busy working on a presidential pardon.. :)

              • Alan says:

                Actually who knows where this case will go. He might get a pardon, he might not. It’s barely four days old, which is why I’m following it avidly. In a way we should profusely thank that Cathedral CBCP flunky who filed a case under this law, thereby exposing its existence to the public. What happens from there, who knows

              • Alan says:

                if you’re petrified by my “genius” then apparently you are easily scared by small or nonexistent things. I probably would not want you as my lawyer.
                Gobble as you might, you really can’t explain why you made up all those suppositions about what DAMASO meant to the witnesses and the judge. When actually it turns out the word meant nothing, as a reading of the decision shows.

              • Parekoy says:

                guys, please cool it down a bit.

        • 58.3.2.2
          leona says:

          Carlos Celdran is an artist. His attire was to look like Rizal to make a point. That is an artist’s way. To emphasize the message he wanted to relay. The Bishops were the clowns though not in attire and not Celdran. You got it wrong totally.

          Now, the RCChurch wants to have nothing anymore with the message Celdran wanted to give to them. Even Mons. Cerbo the complainant did not want to surface at all in the trial. He filed the complaint but did not appear as a witness. Why?

          Rizal and Bonifacio did look like clowns as far as the Spanish friars were concerned. So also the Filipino people, to them we are clowns.

          Watch later and soon, the clowns will win this incident of Celdran.

  7. 57
    Johnny Lin says:

    @parekoy
    Aside from CDQ, Fr Reyes read my postings in this blog too. He endorsed the idea that Celdran should have stayed outside the cathedral.

    “Celdran message was divine, the act was the evil”
    RH bill is law now and he is convicted.

    Fr Reyes must be privy to Carlos to claim that he was ready to face the consequences.

    In that case, fire his lawyers, shelve the appeal, serve the sentence and move on….

    He he he.

    • 57.1
      leona says:

      …Just like Sen. NINOY, fired his lawyers and accepted the verdict of the Mil Tribunal!

      From there, nobody rem’bers the names of the generals of that Tribunal, and Sen. NINOY got instead a statue and country’s honor side-by-side with the Heroes for all times.

      The spittle is overflowing for people’s spits against McCoy and his cronies! Another spittle for the Church!

      Carlos Celdran: FIRE YOUR LAWYERS! Serve the sentence. You are over half way of your quest….FINISH IT then.

      The backlash will be so deafening throughout the RC Church and the country.

    • 57.2
      Parekoy says:

      @johnny,

      Sorry I was not able to reply promptly because of a busy schedule.

      Yup, seems that you have similarities with CDQ, Fr. Reyes, Catholics and if I’m not mistaken the majority of the Filipinos. I grant you that you have the mainstream idea. I know where you are coming from, and I respect it as well as the others who espouse the same. Meaning let Celdran serve his punishment according to what the judge had decided according to his interpretation of the law, no matter how questionable his decision is, wait for the appeal, and leave it to the courts. I even entertain your theory that maybe Celdran’s lawyers were sloppy but I also entertain Alan’s questioning the integrity and sloppy decision of the judge.

      I on the other hand did not stop where the mainstream idea chose to leave the matter. I am a loner here when I toyed with the idea of “Why not question the intent of the law?” Meaning, I proposed to dig deeper and examine not only the surface image but the essence of the law. I know it is difficult treading this path and I know it will be rigorous too, especially for a simpleton. But that is who I am: I am an adventurer /explorer. I also have this habit of dispensing unsolicited advice, which others find irritating and a great number find amusing.

      Then lately, I found that I am not alone after all, when it comes to my view that the law is vague and full of ambiguities and need to be reviewed. I meant the constitutionality of Art 133. Examples that I am quite amused with are the statement of Prof Sison, when he mentioned that it would be up to the SC to decide pertaining to freedom of speech, and also mentioned about “People get killed over religious beliefs.”, which has similarity when I mentioned about religious war in my post, and Dean Bautista’s take on the freedom of speech and clashing with the Church and State, which I did mention in my previous post #36 at Uh oh…xxx topic. Others that I cited I believe have similar take.

      I am not saying that your views are incorrect. I am just saying that I went beyond and chose a different path to find some wisdom. I am grateful that my ideas, ideas of a simpleton, are similar to and aligned with these legal minds with credentials:

      Criminal Lawyer Ibarra, UP
      Atty. Christian Monsod
      Constitutional Professor Oscar Fanklin Tan, UE
      Constitutional Professor Carmelo Sison, UP
      Dean Andy Bautista, FEU (See inquirer Damning Damaso, Feb 2, 2013)

      Let me have copy an extract of my post.
      -
      About religious tolerance…

      So I interpret this law more on the spirit of respecting other faiths rather than protesting within your faith. This law also acts as a hindrance to initiate or to incite religious war.

      -
      About Free Speech…

      If a priest can protest as a citizen about national issues, in this particular case their opposition RH bill, then a member of a flock can also do the same at his church. That is a universal fairness application of the law.

      -
      About common courtesy and Filipino Culture…

      I may not agree with his act, but I commend Celdran on for having balls as big as the egos of the self-righteous clergy!

      -

      Thank you for the healthy exchange of ideas.
      Parekoy

      • 57.2.1
        raissa says:

        Well said, Parekoy

      • 57.2.2
        duquemarino says:

        @parekoy

        I agree, Celdran was brave enough to push his advocacy. He was just a messenger, why was the messenger shot. Besides, the bishops and other religious did not even bat an eyelid or eyelash so to speak. It was the manong and manang who raised hell, (did some call them hypocrites?)

        I hope the appellate court reverses the lower court’s decision.

        • 57.2.2.1
          Parekoy says:

          The complain came from a monsignor?, then taken by the govt prosec, with witnessses provided by the church, Monsod a witness for the defense.

          I say that atmosphere at that time was so volatille that Celdran’s manners caused tbe Church to commit a big blunder, stoking more fire against the Clergy.

          Salamat.

  8. 56
    Cha says:

    Have been waiting for someone to break rank and speak out on this issue. Finally, the running priest, Father Robert Reyes, does.

    The Pain of Damaso by Father Robert Reyes
    Posted 19 hours ago
    The Pain of Damaso
     
                Padre Damaso of Noli and Fili fame is a black eye to the Philippine Church then as well as today. To be a priest and called Damaso is not so pleasant to say the very least. Carlos Celdran’s creative protest in front the altar of the Manila Cathedral against the Church’s position on the RH Bill has now earned him the verdict of guilty and a jail sentence of more than a year.
                I will not go into either the merits of the case or prolong the discussion on the RH Bill, I wish to go through the multi-tiered pain represented by the name Damaso.
                Is Carlos Celdran in pain? Yes, but not in the way that others may understand. I know him and he is a friend. He is a bona-fide citizen of the Republic of the Philippines. We have shared much about the excesses of the Catholic Church long before he ever thought of his “Damaso act” in the Manila Cathedral. Carlos’ pain is that of a Catholic who ask questions and seeks answers but instead of being given one is told to shut up and behave himself. While his Damaso act could have been better done outside the Cathedral and not inside while an Inter-faith gathering was going on, it was his choice for which he was ready to face the consequences.
                There is another paradoxical twist to Carlos’ pain. His creative protest against the Church’s intrusion into the affairs of the state earned the ire of Manila Cathedral Rector Msgr. Nestor Cerbo who later filed a case against the latter. In the meantime, officers of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines forgave Celdran. But now, the courts which are instruments of the state decided to convict and sentence Celdran. While Cendran’s Damaso Act defended the state’s program on Population Management, it is the courts of the same state that is putting him behind bars.
                Are there real Damasos in the Church? Are they in pain as well?
    There are Damasos in the Church but they are not in pain. And this is what prodded Rizal to create the dastardly character of his novels called Padre Damaso.
                This painlessness, apathy and snobbery on the part of some members of the hierarchy and powerful laity of the Catholic Church is not part of the “pain of Damaso” but that which he causes and inflicts upon others.
                I cannot look at Carlos Celdran and simply say, “Buti nga,” and “you deserve to be jailed” without in any way experiencing conflicting feelings inside. Some of her leaders and not the Church as such is culpable. Some may be guilty and may need punishment and more importantly, reform.
                I feel the pain of those alienated by some of the leaders of the Church. Carlos Celdran may be doing us the favor of reminding us not only of the sins of the past but of the present as well. Painful as it may sound, it is not so much Carlos Celdran who is on trial but Padre Damaso once again.
    Fr. Roberto P. Reyes
    January 31, 2013
    Juan de Plasencia Franciscan Novitiate
    Liliw, Laguna
    59

    • 56.1
      leona says:

      @Cha…Fr. Reyes’ account is similar to that movie Raissa like so much ‘Brother Sun Sister Moon” specially the ‘songs’ …I saw it last night, Saint Francis of Azzizi pala yun…Nice specially when Francesco removed his clothes in front of the village people….haha HA!

      May karma pala na iwan si Dr. Rizal re father Damaso! Genuis talaga si Doctor Rizal.

      Thanks.

      • 56.1.1
        Cha says:

        Hi Leona,

        Haven’t seen the movie myself. Now you just got me interested. Will try and find a copy. Thanks also.

        • 56.1.1.1
          leona says:

          @Cha…more interesting when I tell you to see Francesco naked, front and back!…hahaHA! the butt the butt…go get a copy of it.

      • 56.1.2
        Alan says:

        Yes, it seems that Rizal, whether alive, in the shape of his novels, or in the form of costumed tour guide, will always be the Church’s bane and karma. he he he

  9. 55
    Alan says:

    Just for comparison.

    It was commenter Cha who called attention to this story: a 1989 rally staged by gay / AIDS activists in New York protesting the Catholic church’s attitude towards condoms and AIDS education. Several dozen protesters entered St. Patrick’s cathedral while Sunday mass was being was being celebrated by no less than Archbishop John Cardinal O’Connor. The demonstrators shouted chants, lay down on the aisle, some chained themselves to pews. One of them stood up on a pew and blew a whistle.

    What happened to the demonstrators? According to the article:

    “Police arrested a total of 111 demonstrators both inside and outside the church. All faced minor charges and were quickly released without trial and sentenced to community service.

    “A handful of protesters were eventually tried for refusing their community service, but no jail time was ever served.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ett_Rz_eNqA#!

    • 55.1
      baycas says:

      Perhaps Art. 153 of RPC may be applicable to Celdran?

      Chapter Five
      PUBLIC DISORDERS

      Art. 153. Tumults and other disturbance of public orders; Tumultuous disturbance or interruption liable to cause disturbance. — The penalty of arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correccional in its minimum period and a fine not exceeding 1,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who shall cause any serious disturbance in a public place, office, or establishment, or shall interrupt or disturb public performances, functions or gatherings, or peaceful meetings, if the act is not included in the provisions of Articles 131 and 132.

      The penalty next higher in degree shall be imposed upon persons causing any disturbance or interruption of a tumultuous character.

      The disturbance or interruption shall be deemed to be tumultuous if caused by more than three persons who are armed or provided with means of violence.

      The penalty of arresto mayor shall be imposed upon any person who in any meeting, association, or public place, shall make any outcry tending to incite rebellion or sedition or in such place shall display placards or emblems which provoke a disturbance of the public order.

      The penalty of arresto menor and a fine not to exceed P200 pesos shall be imposed upon these persons who in violation of the provisions contained in the last clause of Article 85, shall bury with pomp the body of a person who has been legally executed.

      • 55.1.1
        Johnny Lin says:

        Let us put everything in proper perspective

        1. We are discussing this case in this blog because Celdran was already tried and convicted.

        2. Conviction was on Art 133, hovever primitive is the law, it is the law.

        3. Some protest, the punishment is too harsh. Agreed, but it is what is prescribed by law.

        4. Almost everybody lately has reasonably accepted that Celdran was guilty of disturbance, disrespectful of the rights of others.

        Here comes the tricky part:

        1. Venting of anger or irritation is against the law.

        2. Some vented against the bishops for pursuing the case, which the church authorities denies.

        3. Some say freedom of speech of Celdran was at stake

        Hmmm, Nobody is blaming the lawyers of Celdran!

        Trial and judgement has been rendered under art 133. The next proceeding is appeals to higher courts.

        Lawyers of Celdran should have argued during the trial, if they did not, and admitted that Celdran created public disturbance proven by his apology to the bishops 2 years ago,; that the law charged to Celdran was WRONG. It should be under misdemeanor of public disturbance or if this is the law cited by baycas below.

        If his lawyers did not raise this fact, then they are incompetent or negligent to do the best possible escapism of their client.

        Celdran then should change lawyers

        He he he

        • 55.1.1.1
          leona says:

          …’escapism’ for Celdran’s defense team and ‘persecutism’ for the Church’s team prosecution. Ganda!

        • 55.1.1.2
          baycas says:

          Wow, @Johnny Lin,

          you are imposing too much. the blog post is about possible change.

          please notice that i didn’t discuss lengthily in the previous thread on Celdran case because i believe it is inappropriate.

          as far as i am concerned i am forward-looking on this matter. it is good mainstream media is picking up matters discussed here.

          lastly, this is the Court…the Court of PUBLIC OPINION.

          • 55.1.1.2.1
            baycas says:

            “Notoriously Offensive”, an Inquirer editorial…

            http://opinion.inquirer.net/46003/notoriously-offensive

            • leona says:

              Good editorial too! An extract –

              “xxx n the first place, three of the four witnesses for the prosecution all initially thought Celdran’s placard-raising was part of the ecumenical service. One witness told the court she initially wondered whether it “was part of the activity or Bro. [Edgar] Tirona’s props.” (Tirona was reading a Bible passage at the time.) Another witness “wondered if it was part of the ecumenical prayer.” Fr. Oscar Alunday, SVD—in the judge’s reckoning the most credible witness—also first thought the “Damaso” placard was “part of the sharing.xxx”

              Let us turn the facts ‘around.’ Suppose, just suppose, Mr. Tirona mistakenly announced to all that “Don’t worry. Don’t be offended. This DAMASO is part of the program, etc.” …thinking it was Fr. Alunday’s surprised innovations and the father thinking also it was Mr. Tirona’s.. The Bishops starts to laugh…Tsk tsk tsk, nodding in approval.

              Then each of the 4 prosec witnesses says: “Ah, okay. ‘Kala ko hindi. I’m not offended.”

              But later it was found out neither Mr. Tirona nor F. Alunday had a part in it.
              Would there still be ‘a complaint’ and would the court convict?

              In short, the editorial is right. It all depended on ‘wonderments”…a human unreliable proof of notorious offended feelings.

        • 55.1.1.3
          Alan says:

          I agree Johnny Lin — not enough attention has been focused on what actually happened in the case itself, and what arguments the defense used. Perhaps they weren’t vigorous enough, who knows? One thing I did hear was that the judge who had been hearing the case for two years (and who had been encouraging mediation) was suddenly changed to the one who finally issued the decision. I also heard that Celdran was trying to apologize to the plaintiff but the plaintiff wouldn’t make himself available. As I’ve repeatedly said, the story is far from over and I eagerly await the next chapter. I should get popcorn.

          • 55.1.1.3.1
            baycas says:

            Hon. Alfonso C. Ruiz II was appointed Q.C. RTC Judge, Branch 216, on April 25, 2012.

            Judge Juan O. Bermejo Jr. of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila replaced him. When he became a pairing judge to fill in Judge Ruiz’s station, I don’t know.

            • raissa says:

              Who appointed Alfonso Ruiz as QC RTC Judge?

            • Johnny Lin says:

              Justice for sale in the Philippines, setting that aside since the two protagonists are well entrenched in social Nd political clouts.

              As I said, assume the judge was fair thus the action broke down between the strategies of the lawyers. Celdran counsels could have argued many aspects including changing the charges, reclusion of the judge, arbitration or plead deal. Based on the result, they argued on the merits of their case knowing the law and punishment as it is.

              Are they regretting their strategy now or they made a mistake on legal approach? Did they count on sentiments of the people in their side but according to the news netizens and public are split so that makes it even.

              Considering the trial was conducted fairly, however we hew and hem bottom line lies on the competence of his lawyers.

  10. 54
    baycas says:

    “Further, although it was an ecumenical service, Bermejo did not detail how Celdran “notoriously” offended all the different faiths.”

    - Celdran jailed for offending political feelings
    By Oscar Franklin Tan
    12:05 am | Thursday, January 31st, 2013

    All witnesses who testified if they were offended or not (I presume “religious feelings”) are members of the Catholic Church. Both plaintiff and defendant are Catholics.

    There is no need to compare with non-Catholics. The reason:

    “whether or not the act complained of is offensive to the religious feelings of the Catholics, is a question of fact which must be judged only according to the feelings of the Catholics and not those of other faithful ones, for it is possible that certain acts may offend the feelings of those who profess a certain religion, while not otherwise offensive to the feelings of those professing another faith.”

    - People vs Celdran (with citation from People vs Baes)

  11. 53
    Parekoy says:

    My observation is that we have four positions here on this case based Art 133.

    1. Agree with the verdict of Judge Bermejo and punishment as prescribed.

    2. Agree with the verdict of Judge Bermejo but disagree with the punishment. Others said it should only be a fine and not imprisonment.

    3. Wrong law was applied. Others raised unjust vexation.

    4. Question the constitutionality and interpretation of the law. Ambiguities on interpreting “notoriety” and “religious feelings”. Additionally, explore the applicability of freedom of speech within a forum when the protest is coming from a member of the flock, and not from outside the flock, and freedom of speech in general, to name a few.

    I belong to the fourth one.

    Also I challenge the lawyers here, even though you agree with the judge, if you are the one defending Celdran, how are you going to do it?

    a. How would you have done defending Celdran in Bermejo’s court?
    b. Now that Celdran is convicted, how are you going to handle his appeal?

    I pose these questions so that we can explore how creative one can be to be at the other side. It is easy to agree on something already decided but it is harder to take a position opposite that. Can we think outside the box?

    • 53.1
      Parekoy says:

      Erratum.

      “religious feelings”.

      with

      “offensive to religious feelings”.

      • 53.1.1
        leona says:

        From ‘Journal on line’ it says a certain Monsignor Cerbo filed the case. The link

        http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/metro/43783-celdran-guilty

        Yet, some news reported that the Church was not interested to file the case.

      • 53.1.2
        leona says:

        …the word ‘Bermejo’ has a meaning in Spanish…”a bright reddish colour”…so we can now call the decision – the reddish colored decision on Celdran!

        On traffic lights…red means STOP!

        Red means blood.

        On Sabung days, a red flag means ‘there is Sabung [cockfights]‘.

        Anger also turns one reddish!

        Red hot chili …

        Reddish can mean ‘life or death.’

        Judge Red…no, it’s Dredd.

        Celdran in red…more like it.

    • 53.2
      Alan says:

      To be more precise about my opinion.
      (1) I tend to agree that Celdran caused a public disturbance. Whether this is an offense is something else (demonstrators, after call, can always be described as causing “public disturbance”). He was not mocking religion, he was not screaming or frothing (he just stood there and held up the sign — he only shouted the church shouldn’t meddle in politics as he was being led away). He was making a political statement. And it wasn’t a Mass that was being held when he did that.
      (2) I believe he should have been tried, if at all, under a different charge — disturbance of the peace or trespassing, for instance.
      (3) I believe his “crime” should at the most have been a misdemeanor with a fine
      (4) I think Art 133 is vague, medieval and possibly unconstitutional. It should be scrapped. GIven the country’s historical colonial context the article is a relic.
      (5) It is specious to talk about “mosques” and other religions’ buildings when historically there’s only been one overwhelmingly dominant religion in this country, and that’s the one that this law benefits

      • 53.2.1
        Johnny Lin says:

        Beg to disagree on #5.

        The law is about deterrence.

        Historically, minorities, colored, underprivileged have been the victims of bias or prejudice and harassment. They stand to BENEFIT more from the law than the majority. Members of the dominant sector may have more tendency to commit the indecent act because of “feeling” of superiority.

        • 53.2.1.1
          Alan says:

          Disagreement noted. Now all you have to do is provide the instances where this has actually transpired in the 83 years that the law has existed

          • 53.2.1.1.1
            Johnny Lin says:

            Even if the law exists only in the Philippines like no divorce, oneway to get ridof it by legal approach or legislation. If it is applied to a person, like Celdran case, that person has to defend why it’s not applicable to him or get good lawyers to challenge the law or even suggest that another law should be applied to their client like public disturbance, if they agree that their client has committed. If they did not protest and their client was convicted on art 133, then the lawyers are incompetent or negligent. In this case blame the defense,not the prosecuion. Fumimg against the law after the trial is futile legally.

            When a law exists, it does not automatically mean it has to be violated, on the contrary, has to be obeyed. Its presence as a form of deterrence is enough. If never applied, so much the better meaning its intended purpose is working.

            Apparently, so far Celdran case has been the third time the law was applied. It is antiquated, yet only 3 cases seemingly, it is working. In my view the law is not broken, so fixing unnecessary. That is my personal view as others have their own personal opinions. To avoid trouble, respect the rights of others. Simple common sense.

            In DeQuiroz column he cited the recent Pussy Riot saga, tsomewhat comparable to Celdran.

    • 53.3
      leona says:

      Suggestion: 1.) File an OMNIBUS MR…motion for recon on the decision & to set aside the judgement & to re-open the case, etc. …put arguments & new evidence or proof for defense, etc., on freedom of speech issue before the 15 days to appeal lapses… [ so on appeal if motion is denied, it was presented at the lower court and should be included in the appeal argument ].

      2.) On appeal, if (1) above is denied, point out the errors of the court. Extensively discuss what happened below, as denial of due process of law, equal protection of the law and violation of FREEDOM OF SPEECH issues, etc. Just fill up that BAG! …like a defense lawyer is paid a million bucks for it.

      A lot of a defense lawyer’s work really, mind you! ‘Break the mind’ of the judge and not yours!

    • 53.4
      leona says:

      @parekoy….from other news reports in this case of Celdran, it was reported that it was a ‘Monsignor’ who filed the case against him at the Mla Prosec Office as complainant but did not take the witness stand. The defense could have insisted to subpoena him to testify or be cross-examined as hostile witness, etc. as being the complainant but from the record it was not mentioned at all.

      • 53.4.1
        Parekoy says:

        I mentioned that too in in my previous comments. Who is that mystery guy?

        I have another theory. What if the public prosecutors really wanted Celdranto be convicted? What would be the outcome. Who will benefit, who will be damaged?

        If I would like to punish the Church, I will make sure Celdran be convicted according to Art 133. Offensive Religious Feelings surely is a controversial issue and with RH also as a hot button issue, then we have an explosive chemical just waiting to be ignited.

        If those prosecutors are out to embarrass the Church, then that is one possible reasons.

        Otherwise, the Church just made a mistake of an overkill. For them too little to gain, too much to lose.

        Now, observe the recent move of the Church to released a johnny come lately anti Political Dynasty stance. It is surely a sign of a damaged Church and realized their mistakes in their presumption that the Majority of e Catholics are behind them, ergo do damage control.

        The Church also plays win-win. They will grab the credit if the Dynasty Candidates lost, if the opposite, the Church can always claim that the Political System is rotten and they will continuing fighting the Dynasts. Now PNoy is in he defensive.

        The Church is gambling that their ploy will not be uncovered by the faithful, but it remains to be seen. If I were PNoy, I will not let Celdran be pardoned, so that the Church will be kept in tow with properly time exploitation of bringing out Celdran’s plight whenever Church is meddling. But that is only in short duration.

        Senators like the current situation, the outrage cooled down a bit and gave them breathing room.

        Whoever their(PNoy, Senators, Church) operators, propagandists, and crisis managers, they are really good. These factions know that people are no longer easy to fool, now they are calibrating their responses.

        But one thing for sure, we should always be on our guard because history tells us that their motives are usually not to our best interest. So be vigilant!

        • 53.4.1.1
          Alan says:

          I already said the Church is in a lose-lose situation. If Celdran goes to jail, he becomes a martyr. If Noynoy pardons Celdran, the CBCP looks stupid and humiliated. To get out of this trap the CBCP should quickly order its stooge to drop the charges or ask that Celdran be released out of Christian mercy (I don’t even know if this is possible).
          The Church, as Fr Bernas himself pointed out, has historically had an unsavory role in oppressing Filipinos. And the RH fight has led many Filipinos to realize that the it seems the CBCP hierarchs are intolerant old men who only look after themselves and their precious dogma. Their stand on a “Catholic vote” (already revealed as a sham in the last election) will take a well-deserved drubbing because of cases like this.

          • 53.4.1.1.1
            Johnny Lin says:

            Yesterday, in Inquirer, there was this news story( could not attachlink in my iphone):

            Church to Celdran: Don’t look at Us

            According to this story, thecatholic church under the order of Cardinal Rosales to withdraw from the case, proceedings was solely conducted by Prosecutor office.

            Check the Inquirer and if someone could attach the link.

              • Victin Luz says:

                @mam Leona , I thought the case was People of the Philippines VS Celdran,……the witnesses had already submitted their sworn affidavits and direct and cross examination’s were also completed and the Court ruled for the conviction of Celdran based on Proof Beyond Reasonable Doubt. On appeal at CA isn’t it that Fact’s of the case ( records ) were also elevated to CA and if the witnesses will RETRACT , they can be charge of FALSE TESTIMONY. Do you think mam @ Leona those witnesses will change their affidavit?

                If they will not retract , as I am reading your Law book on PROCEDUREs , on appeal if their is no grave abuse by the judge in deciding the case of Celdran, the CA is not a trier of FACTs but can review the case base only on the question of law ( art.133 ). We all knew , even us non-lawyers that all the elements of the crime were present that was why the judge convicted Celdran.

                I also thought that once a court acquired jurisdiction over the case and the accused , the court can no longer dismiss the case basing only on the withdrawal of a witness but can be dismiss only only upon or non compliance of court’s CRIMINAL PROCEDUREs.

                Paki explain naman mam@Leona , kasi gusto rin naming maintindihan maige ni @mcspeed, itong masalimoot na TOPIC ni Celdran.

  12. 52
    Rene-Ipil says:

    The court decision said:

    “The court submits that the act of the accused in displaying the placard with the word “DAMASO” on it inside the Manila Cathedral, while an ecumenical service was going on, is offensive to the feelings of the faithful.” And “In order for an act to be notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful , it must be directed against the religious practice or dogma or ritual for the purpose of ridicule.”

    So the court meant that the guilt of the accused hinges on the word “DAMASO” in the placard. But the court in its narration of the facts of the case did not mention any statement that any of the religious practice or dogma or ritual being participated into by any of the witnesses was being ridiculed or mocked or derided by the word “DAMASO”.

    In fact, three of the four witnesses for the prosecution did not give any negative meaning to the word “DAMASO”. The other prosecution witness, Marcelina Cacal, explained that “DAMASO” refers to a priest that committed something against the church, but contradicted herself later by saying that she does not know the meaning of the word “DAMASO”. Nonetheless, the four witnesses said that they were disturbed or angered by the intrusion of Celdran in the ecumenical service.

    The word “DAMASO” in the placard did not specifically offend the religious feelings of the four prosecution witnesses. It was the intrusion of Celdran that
    ruffled their feathers. So that if the placard bore the word “TOMAS” their feelings would be the same. Clearly, there is none that offended, much less notoriously, the religious feelings of the witnesses. But they were surely annoyed, irritated, vexed, disturbed or angered by the rude act of Celdran. And that is outside the ambit of Article 133 of the RPC.

    • 52.1
      Parekoy says:

      Similar to Tan’s!

      More detailed, and you made a good point. Seems that you are one of those whose position #3 of my comment/posting #53 above this pane.

    • 52.2
      jcc says:

      But you forgot that in the Philippines, the duty of the jury is in the hands of the judge. If he concluded that the acts of celdran was notoriously offensive, the appellate court is bound by that factual finding.

      And the hands of the appellate court is not tied in exploring the phrase “notoriously offensive” if it wishes to affirm the conviction by the trial court by pointing out that Fr. Damaso in Noli Me Tangere, represents abomination, an adulterer who fathered Maria Clara while her mother was still married to Capitan Tiago.

      To even insinuate that the Bishops/Priests are like Fr. Damaso in the novel, is outrageously offensive.

      That a clown putting up the sartorial manifestation of the great patriot so he can portray a respectable stature is also “notoriously offensive.” (its only me speaking, because I see Rizal as the epitome our our intellectual and cultural attributes and Celdran, a poor substitute.. :) )

      • 52.2.1
        Parekoy says:

        Actually, I was one of those that was offended by his taste of attire.

        He offended my sartorial feelings. :-)

        • 52.2.1.1
          Parekoy says:

          @Jcc

          I like your blogs about the Marcoses! Younger Filipinos should visit your blog to have a taste of history of the Martial Law Years!

          • 52.2.1.1.1
            jcc says:

            Thanks parekoy… :)

            • Parekoy says:

              Welcome.

              @readers, pag gusto nyong subukang basahin,

              Ilagay ang mouse sa blue na pangalan ni Jcc (huwag sa mukha dahil masasaktan sya, yung cyber feeling nya) at mapupunta ka sa blog nya. :-)

          • 52.2.1.1.2
            fed_up says:

            @Parekoy. Thanks for leading me to Jcc’s blog. @Jcc. will visit your blog from time to time from hereon, I’m presently reading a book by Sterling Seagrave (The Marcos Dynasty) and find an article in your blog as corroborative of what I am reading about Marcos’ loot.

            • Parekoy says:

              Welcome.

              Daming mapupulot don kay Jcc.

              Punta ka rin kay Oscar Franklin Tan sa FB nya. Nasa inner circle sya ng legal system natin, so yung mga lumalabas sa kanya ay mga halohalo na ideas ng ibaibang legal experts sa atin. Yung sa rappler nya para kang nanunuod ng basketball o boksing. Mahusay kasi magsulat.

              Stellar ang academic credentials nya, bale pwedeng role model ng mga estudyante. Bata pa at idealistic, di pa kurap, at mukhang may integrity.

              Punta ka rin sa ma Anti-blogs yung mga kontra PNoy, kita mo rin kung ano ang perspective nila. Kahit kalimitan ay hindi ka sang ayon, pero you try mong intindihin motive nila and style, we still learn something from them.

              The more informed, the better.

            • jcc says:

              @fed_up,

              thanks… hope our cpmers should read serious books about our country so they will learn what’s wrong with us…

              they also must read noli me tangere to find that comparing damaso to our present-day prelates is notoriously offensive if they knew who fr. damaso was actually in the novel.

      • 52.2.2
        jcc says:

        And it is against the dogma of the church to encourage adulter or even to condone it…. :)

      • 52.2.3
        jcc says:

        And it is against the dogma of the church to condone or encourage adultery.. Celdran’s Damaso placard virtually shoved on the faces of the priests/bishops was an accusation that just like Damaso, they were also adulterers and hypocrites.

        In fact, it was the chief message in his antics, that these prelates are bunch of hypocrites and adulterers too.

        I have no problem acquitting Celdran if he called or suggested that these prelates were adulterers and hypocrites too like Fr. Damaso… But he was right in the premises of the church, which is not considered a “public forum” and Art. 133, can be considered a “time, place and manner’ regulation” if it comes to the point that this whole debate can framed under the “free speech clause” which I humby submit is not.

        • 52.2.3.1
          leona says:

          @jcc…is the Manila Cathedral church [at the time of the incident here] ‘a public’ place or a ‘private’ place? ‘In public openly” not in private. As a noun, members of a community in general.

          Practically, the church was ‘opened’ to the public at that time. If it was ‘closed’ for the people or members inside, no else allowed to enter, it becomes ‘private.’

          My opn is the church at the time of Celdran’s acts, was “public” or “in a public place” based on the special circumstances surrounding the event.

          • 52.2.3.1.1
            jcc says:

            @leona,

            you are always confused… simply because a particular establishment accepts the public in its premises does not make that building a public place… everybody is admitted at the mall but that does not make the mall a public place…

            public place under the framework of “free exercise” means, plaza, public streets, etc… places constructed out of government funds… even on such broad definition, you cannot exercise your free speech inside the session hall of the supreme court, though that place can be technically be said to be a public place.

      • 52.2.4
        leona says:

        @jcc…” xxx If he concluded that the acts of celdran was notoriously offensive, the appellate court is bound by that factual finding.xxx ” can always be set aside by appellate court for good reasons: misplaced; not proof beyond reasonable doubt or
        doubtful; gravely abuse judicial discretion; etc.

        There was no evidence Celdran ‘insinuated’ that word DAMASO to the Bishops, etc. So, it cannot be taken as proof. Only an assumption but not evidence, so it won’t help to prove that thing.

        Interesting topic. Thanks again.

        • 52.2.4.1
          jcc says:

          @leona,

          There is such thing as “judicial notice.” The court can take notice of the fact that Fr. Damaso, the friar in Noli Me Tangere was an adulterer and a hypocrite. There is no need to belabor the point. That the Damaso placard was meant to taunt the prelates that just like Fr. Damaso in the novel, they were also adulerers and hypocrites.

      • 52.2.5
        Rene-Ipil says:

        Jcc@52.2

        Factual findings by the court: Celdran displayed a placard with the word DAMASO on it while an ecumenical service was going on inside the Manila Cathedral.

        Conclusion by the court: The above act of Celdran is offensive to the feelings of the faithful.

        Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution: No decision shall be rendered by the court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based.

        Errors committed by the court: The court failed to state facts which led to its conclusion that the display of the word DAMASO inside the church during an ecumenical service notoriously offended the religious feelings of the faithful.

        Nobody testified or even implied that the word DAMASO refers to the adulterous relationship between Father Damaso and Pia Alba who was the mother of Maria Clara. The three laymen-witnesses did not give any importance or meaning to the word DAMASO. The lone clergy-witness thought that DAMASO refers to the secretary of St. Jerome. How could the word DAMASO offend their religious feelings if same word did not matter to them?

        Definitely, the decision of the court is not based on facts adduced by evidence. Rather, it is based on the imagination by Judge Bermejo that Celdran meant Fr. Damaso, the adulterer. I, myself, is sure that Celdran meant Fr. Damaso of the Noli Me Tangere. But Judge Bermejo’s and my beliefs are not evidence. And the prosecution failed to move that the word DAMASO be declared of judicial notice to mean Fr. Damaso. Without that declaration of judicial notice, the prosecution must prove by testimonial or documentary evidence that the word DAMASO refers to Fr. Damaso. As it is no evidence was presented to that effect.

        Btw (for CPMers) it is of judicial notice that Christmas Day falls on December 25; Jose Rizal is our national hero; GMA was a former president (at least “de facto”); etc.

        • 52.2.5.1
          jcc says:

          I would assume that the judge knows who Fr. Damaso was and therefore he considered the placard notoriously offensive. The judge cited the correct law, Art. 133. It has invoked the case of Baes, that said that it is from the perspective of the faithful is the benchmark in the determination as to what constitutes “offensive to the feelings of the faithful.

          The decision may have some shortcoming in style and in legal draftmanship, but its conclusion that the accused was guilty was based on the assertions of the witnesses that they were offended by the acts of the accused.

        • 52.2.5.2
          leona says:

          @Rene_Ipil…@jcc…I agree with Rene. And when it comes to the point a court will ‘take judicial notice’ of certain facts, the court is obliged under the Rules of Court, to inform the parties of it’s act on that point. Did the trial court do this? The record does not show it did. So, the taking of judicial notice of the word DAMASO was not correct. In fact, as the record is silent on it, it was an abuse of judicial discretion on the part of the judge.

          • 52.2.5.2.1
            jcc says:

            let the appellate court expound on this .. as i said, the reviewing court can paraprhase further the decision if it seeks to affirm it.

            • jcc says:

              What is important is that the Damaso placard held up high by Celdran infront of the prelates was part of the record which the reviewing court can take notice of and say, it has no purpose other than to insinuate that the prelates, like Friar Damaso were also adulterers and hypocrites.

              If that is not “notoriously offensive” to you, I won’t know what will..

        • 52.2.5.3
          Rene-Ipil says:

          Correction: I, myself, am sure . . . .

    • 52.3
      netty says:

      The appeal must then be handled by the smartest criminal and or constitutional lawyers, but it is very expensive way to do. It is the one that is more painful in the wallet. If the conviction is upheld then Celdran’s back check is already tarnished. Yes, it sends a message that if you erred against the law expect a a consequence, but this one is the impairment of the judge to look on the constitutionality of the law. The witnesses were allowed to use hearsay and really do not know who is Damaso. They have vague feeling of being religiously hurt. I think the only ones that were hurt were the egos of the priest for they know what Damaso represented to them. Celdran was protesting what he believes in, that is his freedom of speech and he was not truly disruptive, as the mass continued and he just shouted when he was led away. The people inside the church were annoyed but were able to continue with the mass. Was there an element of offensive harm done to the feelings of people present without reasonable doubt? I for one doubt it. For now, one person is tarnish because of a mistake done based on an outdated law which would take years to change and remedy. It is faster and easier to pocket millions of money which weren’t theirs than to do the work as lawmakers. Why not appoint a clergy man to one of the lawmakers caucus so they can add their input on the laws rather than just being passive- aggressive when their interest is at risk. Be a part of the solution than being a part problem.

  13. 51
    Rene-Ipil says:

    The court decision said:

    “The court submits that the act of the accused in displaying the placard with the word “DAMASO” on it inside the Manila Cathedral, while an ecumenical service was going on, is offensive to the feelings of the faithful.” And “In order for an act to be notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful , it must be directed against the religious practice or dogma or ritual for the purpose of ridicule.”

    So the court meant that the guilt of the accused hinges on the word “DAMASO” in the placard. But the court in its narration of the facts of the case did not mention any statement that any of the religious practice or dogma or ritual being participated into by any of the witnesses was being ridiculed or mocked or derided by the word “DAMASO”.

    In fact, three of the four witnesses for the prosecution did not give any negative meaning to the word “DAMASO”. The other prosecution witness, Marcelina Cacal, explained that “DAMASO” refers to a priest that committed something against the church, but contradicted herself later by saying that she does not know the meaning of the word “DAMASO”. Nonetheless, the four witnesses said that they were disturbed or angered by the intrusion of Celdran in the ecumenical service.

    The word “DAMASO” in the placard did not specifically offend the religious feelings of the four prosecution witnesses. It was the intrusion of Celdran that ruffled their feathers. So that if the placard bore the word “TOMAS” their feelings would be the same. Clearly, there is none that offended, much less notoriously, the religious feelings of the witnesses. But they were surely annoyed, irritated, vexed, disturbed or angered by the rude act of Celdran. And that is outside the ambit of Article 133 of the RPC.

  14. baycas says:

    Napi-feel ko na ito. Ramdam ko na ang passion ng mga tao dito sa blog ni Ma’am Raissa…nagngangalit…

    Kaya nai-poste ko ito:

    baycas says:
    January 26, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Relax my friends. We only have the corrupt public officials as our enemies.

    Enjoy a joke to simmer down for…

    …a sense of humor is the main measure of sanity.

    - Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72

    Thank you, sane people.

    (Nothing’s a-brewing, just anticipating…)

    Katotong Parekoy, jokes naman diyan uli.

    Para mahimasmasan naman tayo…

    We sure need a breather.

    • Parekoy says:

      check ko muna kung makapasok. hinaharang muna kasi ni Lord sa ulap…

    • jeproks2002 says:

      celdran could have opted for other ways to protest. he had sent his message and he has no regrets. hindi naman daw nagkagulo ang mga pari. they were more surprised than shocked i think. perhaps celdran should have adopted another “war” strategy – let the adversary fight among themselves.
      how do you make priests fight among themselves? throw a young boy in front of the bishops and priests.

      im sure this wouldn’t be “notoriously offensive”.

  15. letlet says:

    In Comparison

    Occupy protesters chain themsleves To St. Paul’s pulpit ( a Church of England Cathedral, seat of Bishop of London

    The Traditional solemnity of St Paul’s Sunday evensong was disrupted when four members of the Occupy London Movement, which camped outside the cathedral for FOUR months chained themselves to the base of the pulpit.

    When the choir sang, four women dressed in white shouted their own semon to mark the anniversary of the start of of the Occupycamp outside St Paul’s accusing the cathedral authoriries of colluding with banks and failing to help the poor.

    Occupy was right – all the church could say was “go home, leave the premises or face court action.

    Source: guardian.co.uk, 2012 October 14, Occupy protest
    —————-

    The Occupy London Movement campaign and the actions they undertook are much heavy handed , yet the police tried to disperse them later on, but no charges. Celdran’s “offense” is considerably lighter than Occupy London yet he was charged and sentenced for jailtime for about a year.Are British authoriries/ judges more compassionate, forgiving, and merciful than the Filipinos? Do Filipino judges charge the offenders with sentences based on their economic and social status?.

    The Pope pardoned ex-butler who stole, leaked documents. Again , it tells of forgiveness, mercy and compassion to the church’s flocks. Right there and then, when celdran was arrested by police, the cathedral priest could have said to the arresting officer ” we don’t want him charged, let him go home, will discuss the matter with him tomorrow, we’ll deal with him”. The church should practice what it preaches to the flocks.

  16. vander anievas says:

    sa totoo lang, humanga ako sa bilis ng mga pangyayari. hanga ako sa ating korte ngayon. mabilis ang paghatol. may improvement na yata. uunlad na ang bansa…
    no more “justice delayed, justice denied” era.
    itong kaso ni caloy ay ni wala sa kalingkingan ng marami pang kaso na nakabimbin sa ating mga korte. hindi ko naman sinasabing mas dapat unahin o mas dapat pag-ukulan ng malaking pansin ang ibang kaso. humanga lang talaga ako sa bilis nang pagkakahatol. hindi ko naman siya kinakampihan. mali namang gumawa ng alingasngas sa isang taimtim na pook, maging ikaw man ay isang kapatid sa isang pribadong kongregasyon. mali namang pagbintangan na padre damaso ang hindi naman tunay na damaso.
    great, may improvement na sa ating hudikatura. oee!!
    ano ito? ganti ba ito sa pagkakapasa ng rhbill na dahilan ng pag-iingay ni caloy?
    o isang pagkakataon lamang?
    totoo, para sa akin ay nakagawa si caloy ng isang bagay na labag. labag sa gmrc. labag sa kagandahang-asal. nag-ingay siya. nanakit ng damdamin ng ating kapatiran.
    bakit sila nasaktan? nabasa rin ba nila ang nobela ni gat jose rizal? sila rin ba ay katulad ni padre damaso? ganoon na ba talaga kasama ang maihambing kay padre damaso mahigit ng isang siglong nakakaraan?
    tayo ba ay mga isip-bata na sa ganun lang na masamang asal ay magpapakulong na?
    ang isang community service ay sapat na sa aking palagay.
    napakaraming heinous crimes na ang may kagagawan ay hindi naipapakulong.
    hindi ito tagumpay ng isang matalinong paghuhusga, sa tingin ko ito ay isa na namang produkto ng kapritso na kawangki ng panahon ng mga mapuputing binti.
    ang dapat nating ipakulong ay iyong mga nagnanakaw sa kaban ng ating bayan.
    iyong mga nandaraya sa halalan.
    iyong mga pumapatay.
    iyong mga nanghahalay.
    iyong mga nam-bu-bully sa pribado man o publiko.
    si padre damaso ay matagal nang namatay. huwag na nating buhayin.
    o baka naman si padre damaso ay sadyang buhay pa. ay sino naman kaya si padre damaso sa makabagong panahong ito? sino siya? sino ka? sino ka? sumagot ka…magpakilala ka sa amin…

  17. Rolly says:

    Law is Law and people should abide by it. What about if a certain Law is oppressive, discriminating, despotic, broad and ill-defined?

    Ikaw Rolly na isang kahig isang tuka, ginulo mo ako habang nanalangin sa loob ng simbahan…sinaktan mo ang aking damdamin. Mayaman ako, kita mo, nababalot ako ng mga alahas…ipakukulong kita! Ikaw naman Pepe, kahit mayaman ka rin at meyor ng Babuyan Island, ididemanda kita ng libelo dito sa Ampatuan country…tingnan ko lang kung makapanood ka pa ng Pinoy Henyo. Ikaw rin Pedro, naki like-like ka sa Facebook kay Mayor Pepe sa pagsasabing peke ang ilong ko, pati ikaw kulong.

    We don’t want this kind of Laws in our midst. We don’t want to live on the edge. We don’t want to be in constant threat of imprisonment by impulse and whims.

    My emphasis is for people to unite, help one another, yell with one voice in denouncing such Laws and hopefully dispose them altogether. Celdran incidentally opened up this resurrected Law into public view, and it is for us people (netizens especially) to act. May this case be the catalyst in the progression and improvement of forging future Laws in this rapidly changing world of ours.

    • leona says:

      @Rolly…as I pointed out below on @baycas’ placed Inquirer Editorial, Art. 133 RPC, factually created and resulted in an unjustified conviction based on “wonderments” on prosecution witnesses testimony of their feelings. You’re right, this Art. 133 must be repealed soon, the sooner the better for freedom of speech and of religion.

  18. Eric says:

    Did Carlos Celdran come out of the closet yet? I think he will enjoy serving his sentence.

    • Alan says:

      Or he might meet a lot of closet homophobes who haven’t come out yet — like you.

    • Baltazar says:

      @Eric,
      If we will just try to stretch our sensibilities, my position , as always is – Celdran’s sexuality has nothing to do with this freshly decided case. And in fact, the more people slap him of his sexual preference issue, the more people try to say that a third sex has no right to tell the bishops to be away from politics – which they always do by using pastoral letters and using the pulpit . Who knows, that just like what @parekoy commented, the judge might have prejudiced him based on his sexuality. ( Well, I don’t go with the idea) Nevertheless, let’s grow up! That’s not the issue. He’s been sentenced to prison – a place for blood-thirst criminals. Does that commensurate with the purported crime he committed? I am not speaking for the whole protestant. but in my case and in my denomination (Baptist), such kind of assault might just force other church attenders to move the guy away. And what happened will just be confined to the church. Well, I have just cited a very unlikely scenario because our denomination knows our rightful religious position- that is to stay away from political issues which Roman Catholics openly and oftenly do.
      And definitely no sore spot on my part why I’m defending him. I am just trying to be – please read my lips – ON TOPIC

      • Eric says:

        Pardon my sense of humor, I think we’re all adults here. No need to rub salt on a sore spot. Yeah, on topic. Congratulations for being deputized as an On Topic Police.

    • leona says:

      Carlos Celdran is ONE in our 80 millions plus. His fighting spirit belongs to the era of Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio!

      Now: Dr. Jose P. Rizal Andres Bonifacio Carlos Celdran ! 1896 – 2013.

      • Johnny Lin says:

        Sorry Leona, I would not go that far

        Paraphrasing Sen Lloyd Benson, Celdran is no Rizal nor Bonifacio
        He had his 15 minutes of fame, so be it

      • jcc says:

        there is really something wrong with us… we mistake a clown for a patrick henry or jose p. rizal..

        our dna is too destitute, our culture and intellect have been rewired… i see signs that we are becoming monkeys again… :)

        • Alan says:

          “us”? Speak for yourself, if you want to devolve into a monkey

          • jcc says:

            @alan,

            hehehe…. a typical Pinoy emo reaction.. as a GRP commenter said… since when the Filipinos follow the law anyway? except when convenient or in foreign country… celdran was found guilty.. lived with it… if your want his case overturned appeal it with all vigors, but please do not compare him with Rizal.. or Bonifacio… those are my saints and you are elevating Celdran to their status… and I am furious…

            • Alan says:

              Who’s comparing him to Rizal? I was talking about your comparing Filipinos to monkeys. So, are you a Filipino?

              • jcc says:

                read leona, a few cursor back.. :)

              • Alan says:

                What I read was
                “i see signs that we are becoming monkeys again”

                Also I note with great interest that you are apparently a Kool aid drinker of that GaRaPals cabal. Must be good for your ego

              • jcc says:

                no, i consider myself objective.. and biased at the same time…. i read GRP both for amusement and enlightenment… there are good and bad writers in that site… so there are good outputs and bad outputs too just like your site…

                but i continue reading your site and GRP because I believe I am old enough to determine what is trash and what is not.

                i think your support of celdran is trash.. but of course that is my bias… you think he is not guilty and you do not consider it your bias but an unadulterated fact. that is the difference between us…

                as regards the absence of the damaso placard in the evidence, the records though made a discourse that he was holding it. it is testimonial evidence as opposed to physical evidence. but it is evidence nonetheless.. :)

              • jcc says:

                unless of course, you are now ready to make a blanket denial that he was not holdin a Damaso placard, but only a Hello Kitty placard. :)

              • Alan says:

                Your propensity for using smileys reminds me of certain anti-RH trolls of the dullard kind that I used to encounter in FB, but anyhoo, have you even been reading my posts? I said that Celdran, if he did commit a crime, doesn’t merit imprisonment but a fine for disturbance. Also the law he was convicted under is archaic, and benefits the Catholic church.

                Speaking of trash, I was reading with great interest your entire circumlocutious confabulation about the meaning of “Damaso” — it was amusing because clearly you never read the decision, where the witnesses said they hadn’t the faintest idea what Damaso meant, and the judge didn’t read anything more into the word Damaso than the fact that it was used in an annoying way. I dearly and earnestly hope it isn’t with that kind rigor that you “objectively” read blogs.

                But in case we wander too much from my point, this is what you said that I reacted to “i see signs that we are becoming monkeys again”

                And again, I say – speak for yourself

              • jcc says:

                @alan,

                Your opinion and my opinion about Celdran case are immaterial.. It is only the opinion of the court that matters…

                That he was found guilty – and you want it overturned on lofty claim of press freedom.

                We can delude ourselves as to the facts of the case, but those are irrelevant… It is only them who will say what are those facts.

                BTW, I have no problem becoming a monkey, but I pity those who already are and still not fully realizing it… :)

            • Alan says:

              I’ve established you never read the decision, and now I know further you’ve never read anything I posted because I’ve never at all mentioned press freedom in any of my posts on this issue. I don’t like the law because it is unjust and archaic.

              Also my other point is you were shall we say, improvising, about the implications of the word DAMASO in the court case. An interesting way for you to vent your own beliefs, but unfortunately not reflected by the actual document (which as we’ve established you didn’t read — I say “didn’t” because I assume you’re feverishly reading it now)

              As for your project to turning yourself into a monkey — well let us know how that turns out, OK?

              • jcc says:

                quite frankly i don’t read your comments until you bumped into my comments… i know how your mind operates and therefore would not tussle with your “genius”.. (please ignore the sarcasm, or keep patting your back might be good for your ego too. :)

                well, i like the way you argue now proving celdran innocent – and rebuke me for paraphrasing the decision. but on appeal the court will paraphrase it the way i did if it sustains the conviction. just wait for the decision on appeal or whatever.. i hope it will turn out the way you want it. argue it for “press freedom” as if it is absolute and unfettered. i hope you read authorities other than Atty. Tan and Christian Monsod.

              • Alan says:

                Well we’ve already established you have a serial record of not reading anything and then pretending to know it, so I am not exactly surprised here. Good luck on the monkey project then

              • jcc says:

                i read the decision that says he is guilty.. what you read is the decision that he was not guilty as narrated by the facts, but the dispositive portion says he is guilty. you are parsing the decision too.

                what i said is i don’t read your comments because i was petrified by your genius… :)

              • jcc says:

                but i think celdran would accept the verdict as his symphatizers were now busy working on a presidential pardon.. :)

              • Alan says:

                Actually who knows where this case will go. He might get a pardon, he might not. It’s barely four days old, which is why I’m following it avidly. In a way we should profusely thank that Cathedral CBCP flunky who filed a case under this law, thereby exposing its existence to the public. What happens from there, who knows

              • Alan says:

                if you’re petrified by my “genius” then apparently you are easily scared by small or nonexistent things. I probably would not want you as my lawyer.
                Gobble as you might, you really can’t explain why you made up all those suppositions about what DAMASO meant to the witnesses and the judge. When actually it turns out the word meant nothing, as a reading of the decision shows.

              • Parekoy says:

                guys, please cool it down a bit.

        • leona says:

          Carlos Celdran is an artist. His attire was to look like Rizal to make a point. That is an artist’s way. To emphasize the message he wanted to relay. The Bishops were the clowns though not in attire and not Celdran. You got it wrong totally.

          Now, the RCChurch wants to have nothing anymore with the message Celdran wanted to give to them. Even Mons. Cerbo the complainant did not want to surface at all in the trial. He filed the complaint but did not appear as a witness. Why?

          Rizal and Bonifacio did look like clowns as far as the Spanish friars were concerned. So also the Filipino people, to them we are clowns.

          Watch later and soon, the clowns will win this incident of Celdran.

  19. Johnny Lin says:

    @parekoy
    Aside from CDQ, Fr Reyes read my postings in this blog too. He endorsed the idea that Celdran should have stayed outside the cathedral.

    “Celdran message was divine, the act was the evil”
    RH bill is law now and he is convicted.

    Fr Reyes must be privy to Carlos to claim that he was ready to face the consequences.

    In that case, fire his lawyers, shelve the appeal, serve the sentence and move on….

    He he he.

    • leona says:

      …Just like Sen. NINOY, fired his lawyers and accepted the verdict of the Mil Tribunal!

      From there, nobody rem’bers the names of the generals of that Tribunal, and Sen. NINOY got instead a statue and country’s honor side-by-side with the Heroes for all times.

      The spittle is overflowing for people’s spits against McCoy and his cronies! Another spittle for the Church!

      Carlos Celdran: FIRE YOUR LAWYERS! Serve the sentence. You are over half way of your quest….FINISH IT then.

      The backlash will be so deafening throughout the RC Church and the country.

    • Parekoy says:

      @johnny,

      Sorry I was not able to reply promptly because of a busy schedule.

      Yup, seems that you have similarities with CDQ, Fr. Reyes, Catholics and if I’m not mistaken the majority of the Filipinos. I grant you that you have the mainstream idea. I know where you are coming from, and I respect it as well as the others who espouse the same. Meaning let Celdran serve his punishment according to what the judge had decided according to his interpretation of the law, no matter how questionable his decision is, wait for the appeal, and leave it to the courts. I even entertain your theory that maybe Celdran’s lawyers were sloppy but I also entertain Alan’s questioning the integrity and sloppy decision of the judge.

      I on the other hand did not stop where the mainstream idea chose to leave the matter. I am a loner here when I toyed with the idea of “Why not question the intent of the law?” Meaning, I proposed to dig deeper and examine not only the surface image but the essence of the law. I know it is difficult treading this path and I know it will be rigorous too, especially for a simpleton. But that is who I am: I am an adventurer /explorer. I also have this habit of dispensing unsolicited advice, which others find irritating and a great number find amusing.

      Then lately, I found that I am not alone after all, when it comes to my view that the law is vague and full of ambiguities and need to be reviewed. I meant the constitutionality of Art 133. Examples that I am quite amused with are the statement of Prof Sison, when he mentioned that it would be up to the SC to decide pertaining to freedom of speech, and also mentioned about “People get killed over religious beliefs.”, which has similarity when I mentioned about religious war in my post, and Dean Bautista’s take on the freedom of speech and clashing with the Church and State, which I did mention in my previous post #36 at Uh oh…xxx topic. Others that I cited I believe have similar take.

      I am not saying that your views are incorrect. I am just saying that I went beyond and chose a different path to find some wisdom. I am grateful that my ideas, ideas of a simpleton, are similar to and aligned with these legal minds with credentials:

      Criminal Lawyer Ibarra, UP
      Atty. Christian Monsod
      Constitutional Professor Oscar Fanklin Tan, UE
      Constitutional Professor Carmelo Sison, UP
      Dean Andy Bautista, FEU (See inquirer Damning Damaso, Feb 2, 2013)

      Let me have copy an extract of my post.
      -
      About religious tolerance…

      So I interpret this law more on the spirit of respecting other faiths rather than protesting within your faith. This law also acts as a hindrance to initiate or to incite religious war.

      -
      About Free Speech…

      If a priest can protest as a citizen about national issues, in this particular case their opposition RH bill, then a member of a flock can also do the same at his church. That is a universal fairness application of the law.

      -
      About common courtesy and Filipino Culture…

      I may not agree with his act, but I commend Celdran on for having balls as big as the egos of the self-righteous clergy!

      -

      Thank you for the healthy exchange of ideas.
      Parekoy

      • raissa says:

        Well said, Parekoy

      • duquemarino says:

        @parekoy

        I agree, Celdran was brave enough to push his advocacy. He was just a messenger, why was the messenger shot. Besides, the bishops and other religious did not even bat an eyelid or eyelash so to speak. It was the manong and manang who raised hell, (did some call them hypocrites?)

        I hope the appellate court reverses the lower court’s decision.

        • Parekoy says:

          The complain came from a monsignor?, then taken by the govt prosec, with witnessses provided by the church, Monsod a witness for the defense.

          I say that atmosphere at that time was so volatille that Celdran’s manners caused tbe Church to commit a big blunder, stoking more fire against the Clergy.

          Salamat.

  20. Cha says:

    Have been waiting for someone to break rank and speak out on this issue. Finally, the running priest, Father Robert Reyes, does.

    The Pain of Damaso by Father Robert Reyes
    Posted 19 hours ago
    The Pain of Damaso
     
                Padre Damaso of Noli and Fili fame is a black eye to the Philippine Church then as well as today. To be a priest and called Damaso is not so pleasant to say the very least. Carlos Celdran’s creative protest in front the altar of the Manila Cathedral against the Church’s position on the RH Bill has now earned him the verdict of guilty and a jail sentence of more than a year.
                I will not go into either the merits of the case or prolong the discussion on the RH Bill, I wish to go through the multi-tiered pain represented by the name Damaso.
                Is Carlos Celdran in pain? Yes, but not in the way that others may understand. I know him and he is a friend. He is a bona-fide citizen of the Republic of the Philippines. We have shared much about the excesses of the Catholic Church long before he ever thought of his “Damaso act” in the Manila Cathedral. Carlos’ pain is that of a Catholic who ask questions and seeks answers but instead of being given one is told to shut up and behave himself. While his Damaso act could have been better done outside the Cathedral and not inside while an Inter-faith gathering was going on, it was his choice for which he was ready to face the consequences.
                There is another paradoxical twist to Carlos’ pain. His creative protest against the Church’s intrusion into the affairs of the state earned the ire of Manila Cathedral Rector Msgr. Nestor Cerbo who later filed a case against the latter. In the meantime, officers of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines forgave Celdran. But now, the courts which are instruments of the state decided to convict and sentence Celdran. While Cendran’s Damaso Act defended the state’s program on Population Management, it is the courts of the same state that is putting him behind bars.
                Are there real Damasos in the Church? Are they in pain as well?
    There are Damasos in the Church but they are not in pain. And this is what prodded Rizal to create the dastardly character of his novels called Padre Damaso.
                This painlessness, apathy and snobbery on the part of some members of the hierarchy and powerful laity of the Catholic Church is not part of the “pain of Damaso” but that which he causes and inflicts upon others.
                I cannot look at Carlos Celdran and simply say, “Buti nga,” and “you deserve to be jailed” without in any way experiencing conflicting feelings inside. Some of her leaders and not the Church as such is culpable. Some may be guilty and may need punishment and more importantly, reform.
                I feel the pain of those alienated by some of the leaders of the Church. Carlos Celdran may be doing us the favor of reminding us not only of the sins of the past but of the present as well. Painful as it may sound, it is not so much Carlos Celdran who is on trial but Padre Damaso once again.
    Fr. Roberto P. Reyes
    January 31, 2013
    Juan de Plasencia Franciscan Novitiate
    Liliw, Laguna
    59

    • leona says:

      @Cha…Fr. Reyes’ account is similar to that movie Raissa like so much ‘Brother Sun Sister Moon” specially the ‘songs’ …I saw it last night, Saint Francis of Azzizi pala yun…Nice specially when Francesco removed his clothes in front of the village people….haha HA!

      May karma pala na iwan si Dr. Rizal re father Damaso! Genuis talaga si Doctor Rizal.

      Thanks.

  21. Alan says:

    Just for comparison.

    It was commenter Cha who called attention to this story: a 1989 rally staged by gay / AIDS activists in New York protesting the Catholic church’s attitude towards condoms and AIDS education. Several dozen protesters entered St. Patrick’s cathedral while Sunday mass was being was being celebrated by no less than Archbishop John Cardinal O’Connor. The demonstrators shouted chants, lay down on the aisle, some chained themselves to pews. One of them stood up on a pew and blew a whistle.

    What happened to the demonstrators? According to the article:

    “Police arrested a total of 111 demonstrators both inside and outside the church. All faced minor charges and were quickly released without trial and sentenced to community service.

    “A handful of protesters were eventually tried for refusing their community service, but no jail time was ever served.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ett_Rz_eNqA#!

    • baycas says:

      Perhaps Art. 153 of RPC may be applicable to Celdran?

      Chapter Five
      PUBLIC DISORDERS

      Art. 153. Tumults and other disturbance of public orders; Tumultuous disturbance or interruption liable to cause disturbance. — The penalty of arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correccional in its minimum period and a fine not exceeding 1,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who shall cause any serious disturbance in a public place, office, or establishment, or shall interrupt or disturb public performances, functions or gatherings, or peaceful meetings, if the act is not included in the provisions of Articles 131 and 132.

      The penalty next higher in degree shall be imposed upon persons causing any disturbance or interruption of a tumultuous character.

      The disturbance or interruption shall be deemed to be tumultuous if caused by more than three persons who are armed or provided with means of violence.

      The penalty of arresto mayor shall be imposed upon any person who in any meeting, association, or public place, shall make any outcry tending to incite rebellion or sedition or in such place shall display placards or emblems which provoke a disturbance of the public order.

      The penalty of arresto menor and a fine not to exceed P200 pesos shall be imposed upon these persons who in violation of the provisions contained in the last clause of Article 85, shall bury with pomp the body of a person who has been legally executed.

      • Johnny Lin says:

        Let us put everything in proper perspective

        1. We are discussing this case in this blog because Celdran was already tried and convicted.

        2. Conviction was on Art 133, hovever primitive is the law, it is the law.

        3. Some protest, the punishment is too harsh. Agreed, but it is what is prescribed by law.

        4. Almost everybody lately has reasonably accepted that Celdran was guilty of disturbance, disrespectful of the rights of others.

        Here comes the tricky part:

        1. Venting of anger or irritation is against the law.

        2. Some vented against the bishops for pursuing the case, which the church authorities denies.

        3. Some say freedom of speech of Celdran was at stake

        Hmmm, Nobody is blaming the lawyers of Celdran!

        Trial and judgement has been rendered under art 133. The next proceeding is appeals to higher courts.

        Lawyers of Celdran should have argued during the trial, if they did not, and admitted that Celdran created public disturbance proven by his apology to the bishops 2 years ago,; that the law charged to Celdran was WRONG. It should be under misdemeanor of public disturbance or if this is the law cited by baycas below.

        If his lawyers did not raise this fact, then they are incompetent or negligent to do the best possible escapism of their client.

        Celdran then should change lawyers

        He he he

        • leona says:

          …’escapism’ for Celdran’s defense team and ‘persecutism’ for the Church’s team prosecution. Ganda!

        • baycas says:

          Wow, @Johnny Lin,

          you are imposing too much. the blog post is about possible change.

          please notice that i didn’t discuss lengthily in the previous thread on Celdran case because i believe it is inappropriate.

          as far as i am concerned i am forward-looking on this matter. it is good mainstream media is picking up matters discussed here.

          lastly, this is the Court…the Court of PUBLIC OPINION.

          • baycas says:

            “Notoriously Offensive”, an Inquirer editorial…

            http://opinion.inquirer.net/46003/notoriously-offensive

            • leona says:

              Good editorial too! An extract –

              “xxx n the first place, three of the four witnesses for the prosecution all initially thought Celdran’s placard-raising was part of the ecumenical service. One witness told the court she initially wondered whether it “was part of the activity or Bro. [Edgar] Tirona’s props.” (Tirona was reading a Bible passage at the time.) Another witness “wondered if it was part of the ecumenical prayer.” Fr. Oscar Alunday, SVD—in the judge’s reckoning the most credible witness—also first thought the “Damaso” placard was “part of the sharing.xxx”

              Let us turn the facts ‘around.’ Suppose, just suppose, Mr. Tirona mistakenly announced to all that “Don’t worry. Don’t be offended. This DAMASO is part of the program, etc.” …thinking it was Fr. Alunday’s surprised innovations and the father thinking also it was Mr. Tirona’s.. The Bishops starts to laugh…Tsk tsk tsk, nodding in approval.

              Then each of the 4 prosec witnesses says: “Ah, okay. ‘Kala ko hindi. I’m not offended.”

              But later it was found out neither Mr. Tirona nor F. Alunday had a part in it.
              Would there still be ‘a complaint’ and would the court convict?

              In short, the editorial is right. It all depended on ‘wonderments”…a human unreliable proof of notorious offended feelings.

        • Alan says:

          I agree Johnny Lin — not enough attention has been focused on what actually happened in the case itself, and what arguments the defense used. Perhaps they weren’t vigorous enough, who knows? One thing I did hear was that the judge who had been hearing the case for two years (and who had been encouraging mediation) was suddenly changed to the one who finally issued the decision. I also heard that Celdran was trying to apologize to the plaintiff but the plaintiff wouldn’t make himself available. As I’ve repeatedly said, the story is far from over and I eagerly await the next chapter. I should get popcorn.

          • baycas says:

            Hon. Alfonso C. Ruiz II was appointed Q.C. RTC Judge, Branch 216, on April 25, 2012.

            Judge Juan O. Bermejo Jr. of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila replaced him. When he became a pairing judge to fill in Judge Ruiz’s station, I don’t know.

            • raissa says:

              Who appointed Alfonso Ruiz as QC RTC Judge?

            • Johnny Lin says:

              Justice for sale in the Philippines, setting that aside since the two protagonists are well entrenched in social Nd political clouts.

              As I said, assume the judge was fair thus the action broke down between the strategies of the lawyers. Celdran counsels could have argued many aspects including changing the charges, reclusion of the judge, arbitration or plead deal. Based on the result, they argued on the merits of their case knowing the law and punishment as it is.

              Are they regretting their strategy now or they made a mistake on legal approach? Did they count on sentiments of the people in their side but according to the news netizens and public are split so that makes it even.

              Considering the trial was conducted fairly, however we hew and hem bottom line lies on the competence of his lawyers.

  22. baycas says:

    “Further, although it was an ecumenical service, Bermejo did not detail how Celdran “notoriously” offended all the different faiths.”

    - Celdran jailed for offending political feelings
    By Oscar Franklin Tan
    12:05 am | Thursday, January 31st, 2013

    All witnesses who testified if they were offended or not (I presume “religious feelings”) are members of the Catholic Church. Both plaintiff and defendant are Catholics.

    There is no need to compare with non-Catholics. The reason:

    “whether or not the act complained of is offensive to the religious feelings of the Catholics, is a question of fact which must be judged only according to the feelings of the Catholics and not those of other faithful ones, for it is possible that certain acts may offend the feelings of those who profess a certain religion, while not otherwise offensive to the feelings of those professing another faith.”

    - People vs Celdran (with citation from People vs Baes)

  23. Parekoy says:

    My observation is that we have four positions here on this case based Art 133.

    1. Agree with the verdict of Judge Bermejo and punishment as prescribed.

    2. Agree with the verdict of Judge Bermejo but disagree with the punishment. Others said it should only be a fine and not imprisonment.

    3. Wrong law was applied. Others raised unjust vexation.

    4. Question the constitutionality and interpretation of the law. Ambiguities on interpreting “notoriety” and “religious feelings”. Additionally, explore the applicability of freedom of speech within a forum when the protest is coming from a member of the flock, and not from outside the flock, and freedom of speech in general, to name a few.

    I belong to the fourth one.

    Also I challenge the lawyers here, even though you agree with the judge, if you are the one defending Celdran, how are you going to do it?

    a. How would you have done defending Celdran in Bermejo’s court?
    b. Now that Celdran is convicted, how are you going to handle his appeal?

    I pose these questions so that we can explore how creative one can be to be at the other side. It is easy to agree on something already decided but it is harder to take a position opposite that. Can we think outside the box?

    • Parekoy says:

      Erratum.

      “religious feelings”.

      with

      “offensive to religious feelings”.

      • leona says:

        From ‘Journal on line’ it says a certain Monsignor Cerbo filed the case. The link

        http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/metro/43783-celdran-guilty

        Yet, some news reported that the Church was not interested to file the case.

      • leona says:

        …the word ‘Bermejo’ has a meaning in Spanish…”a bright reddish colour”…so we can now call the decision – the reddish colored decision on Celdran!

        On traffic lights…red means STOP!

        Red means blood.

        On Sabung days, a red flag means ‘there is Sabung [cockfights]‘.

        Anger also turns one reddish!

        Red hot chili …

        Reddish can mean ‘life or death.’

        Judge Red…no, it’s Dredd.

        Celdran in red…more like it.

    • Alan says:

      To be more precise about my opinion.
      (1) I tend to agree that Celdran caused a public disturbance. Whether this is an offense is something else (demonstrators, after call, can always be described as causing “public disturbance”). He was not mocking religion, he was not screaming or frothing (he just stood there and held up the sign — he only shouted the church shouldn’t meddle in politics as he was being led away). He was making a political statement. And it wasn’t a Mass that was being held when he did that.
      (2) I believe he should have been tried, if at all, under a different charge — disturbance of the peace or trespassing, for instance.
      (3) I believe his “crime” should at the most have been a misdemeanor with a fine
      (4) I think Art 133 is vague, medieval and possibly unconstitutional. It should be scrapped. GIven the country’s historical colonial context the article is a relic.
      (5) It is specious to talk about “mosques” and other religions’ buildings when historically there’s only been one overwhelmingly dominant religion in this country, and that’s the one that this law benefits

      • Johnny Lin says:

        Beg to disagree on #5.

        The law is about deterrence.

        Historically, minorities, colored, underprivileged have been the victims of bias or prejudice and harassment. They stand to BENEFIT more from the law than the majority. Members of the dominant sector may have more tendency to commit the indecent act because of “feeling” of superiority.

        • Alan says:

          Disagreement noted. Now all you have to do is provide the instances where this has actually transpired in the 83 years that the law has existed

          • Johnny Lin says:

            Even if the law exists only in the Philippines like no divorce, oneway to get ridof it by legal approach or legislation. If it is applied to a person, like Celdran case, that person has to defend why it’s not applicable to him or get good lawyers to challenge the law or even suggest that another law should be applied to their client like public disturbance, if they agree that their client has committed. If they did not protest and their client was convicted on art 133, then the lawyers are incompetent or negligent. In this case blame the defense,not the prosecuion. Fumimg against the law after the trial is futile legally.

            When a law exists, it does not automatically mean it has to be violated, on the contrary, has to be obeyed. Its presence as a form of deterrence is enough. If never applied, so much the better meaning its intended purpose is working.

            Apparently, so far Celdran case has been the third time the law was applied. It is antiquated, yet only 3 cases seemingly, it is working. In my view the law is not broken, so fixing unnecessary. That is my personal view as others have their own personal opinions. To avoid trouble, respect the rights of others. Simple common sense.

            In DeQuiroz column he cited the recent Pussy Riot saga, tsomewhat comparable to Celdran.

    • leona says:

      Suggestion: 1.) File an OMNIBUS MR…motion for recon on the decision & to set aside the judgement & to re-open the case, etc. …put arguments & new evidence or proof for defense, etc., on freedom of speech issue before the 15 days to appeal lapses… [ so on appeal if motion is denied, it was presented at the lower court and should be included in the appeal argument ].

      2.) On appeal, if (1) above is denied, point out the errors of the court. Extensively discuss what happened below, as denial of due process of law, equal protection of the law and violation of FREEDOM OF SPEECH issues, etc. Just fill up that BAG! …like a defense lawyer is paid a million bucks for it.

      A lot of a defense lawyer’s work really, mind you! ‘Break the mind’ of the judge and not yours!

    • leona says:

      @parekoy….from other news reports in this case of Celdran, it was reported that it was a ‘Monsignor’ who filed the case against him at the Mla Prosec Office as complainant but did not take the witness stand. The defense could have insisted to subpoena him to testify or be cross-examined as hostile witness, etc. as being the complainant but from the record it was not mentioned at all.

      • Parekoy says:

        I mentioned that too in in my previous comments. Who is that mystery guy?

        I have another theory. What if the public prosecutors really wanted Celdranto be convicted? What would be the outcome. Who will benefit, who will be damaged?

        If I would like to punish the Church, I will make sure Celdran be convicted according to Art 133. Offensive Religious Feelings surely is a controversial issue and with RH also as a hot button issue, then we have an explosive chemical just waiting to be ignited.

        If those prosecutors are out to embarrass the Church, then that is one possible reasons.

        Otherwise, the Church just made a mistake of an overkill. For them too little to gain, too much to lose.

        Now, observe the recent move of the Church to released a johnny come lately anti Political Dynasty stance. It is surely a sign of a damaged Church and realized their mistakes in their presumption that the Majority of e Catholics are behind them, ergo do damage control.

        The Church also plays win-win. They will grab the credit if the Dynasty Candidates lost, if the opposite, the Church can always claim that the Political System is rotten and they will continuing fighting the Dynasts. Now PNoy is in he defensive.

        The Church is gambling that their ploy will not be uncovered by the faithful, but it remains to be seen. If I were PNoy, I will not let Celdran be pardoned, so that the Church will be kept in tow with properly time exploitation of bringing out Celdran’s plight whenever Church is meddling. But that is only in short duration.

        Senators like the current situation, the outrage cooled down a bit and gave them breathing room.

        Whoever their(PNoy, Senators, Church) operators, propagandists, and crisis managers, they are really good. These factions know that people are no longer easy to fool, now they are calibrating their responses.

        But one thing for sure, we should always be on our guard because history tells us that their motives are usually not to our best interest. So be vigilant!

        • Alan says:

          I already said the Church is in a lose-lose situation. If Celdran goes to jail, he becomes a martyr. If Noynoy pardons Celdran, the CBCP looks stupid and humiliated. To get out of this trap the CBCP should quickly order its stooge to drop the charges or ask that Celdran be released out of Christian mercy (I don’t even know if this is possible).
          The Church, as Fr Bernas himself pointed out, has historically had an unsavory role in oppressing Filipinos. And the RH fight has led many Filipinos to realize that the it seems the CBCP hierarchs are intolerant old men who only look after themselves and their precious dogma. Their stand on a “Catholic vote” (already revealed as a sham in the last election) will take a well-deserved drubbing because of cases like this.

          • Johnny Lin says:

            Yesterday, in Inquirer, there was this news story( could not attachlink in my iphone):

            Church to Celdran: Don’t look at Us

            According to this story, thecatholic church under the order of Cardinal Rosales to withdraw from the case, proceedings was solely conducted by Prosecutor office.

            Check the Inquirer and if someone could attach the link.

              • Victin Luz says:

                @mam Leona , I thought the case was People of the Philippines VS Celdran,……the witnesses had already submitted their sworn affidavits and direct and cross examination’s were also completed and the Court ruled for the conviction of Celdran based on Proof Beyond Reasonable Doubt. On appeal at CA isn’t it that Fact’s of the case ( records ) were also elevated to CA and if the witnesses will RETRACT , they can be charge of FALSE TESTIMONY. Do you think mam @ Leona those witnesses will change their affidavit?

                If they will not retract , as I am reading your Law book on PROCEDUREs , on appeal if their is no grave abuse by the judge in deciding the case of Celdran, the CA is not a trier of FACTs but can review the case base only on the question of law ( art.133 ). We all knew , even us non-lawyers that all the elements of the crime were present that was why the judge convicted Celdran.

                I also thought that once a court acquired jurisdiction over the case and the accused , the court can no longer dismiss the case basing only on the withdrawal of a witness but can be dismiss only only upon or non compliance of court’s CRIMINAL PROCEDUREs.

                Paki explain naman mam@Leona , kasi gusto rin naming maintindihan maige ni @mcspeed, itong masalimoot na TOPIC ni Celdran.

  24. Rene-Ipil says:

    The court decision said:

    “The court submits that the act of the accused in displaying the placard with the word “DAMASO” on it inside the Manila Cathedral, while an ecumenical service was going on, is offensive to the feelings of the faithful.” And “In order for an act to be notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful , it must be directed against the religious practice or dogma or ritual for the purpose of ridicule.”

    So the court meant that the guilt of the accused hinges on the word “DAMASO” in the placard. But the court in its narration of the facts of the case did not mention any statement that any of the religious practice or dogma or ritual being participated into by any of the witnesses was being ridiculed or mocked or derided by the word “DAMASO”.

    In fact, three of the four witnesses for the prosecution did not give any negative meaning to the word “DAMASO”. The other prosecution witness, Marcelina Cacal, explained that “DAMASO” refers to a priest that committed something against the church, but contradicted herself later by saying that she does not know the meaning of the word “DAMASO”. Nonetheless, the four witnesses said that they were disturbed or angered by the intrusion of Celdran in the ecumenical service.

    The word “DAMASO” in the placard did not specifically offend the religious feelings of the four prosecution witnesses. It was the intrusion of Celdran that
    ruffled their feathers. So that if the placard bore the word “TOMAS” their feelings would be the same. Clearly, there is none that offended, much less notoriously, the religious feelings of the witnesses. But they were surely annoyed, irritated, vexed, disturbed or angered by the rude act of Celdran. And that is outside the ambit of Article 133 of the RPC.

    • Parekoy says:

      Similar to Tan’s!

      More detailed, and you made a good point. Seems that you are one of those whose position #3 of my comment/posting #53 above this pane.

    • jcc says:

      But you forgot that in the Philippines, the duty of the jury is in the hands of the judge. If he concluded that the acts of celdran was notoriously offensive, the appellate court is bound by that factual finding.

      And the hands of the appellate court is not tied in exploring the phrase “notoriously offensive” if it wishes to affirm the conviction by the trial court by pointing out that Fr. Damaso in Noli Me Tangere, represents abomination, an adulterer who fathered Maria Clara while her mother was still married to Capitan Tiago.

      To even insinuate that the Bishops/Priests are like Fr. Damaso in the novel, is outrageously offensive.

      That a clown putting up the sartorial manifestation of the great patriot so he can portray a respectable stature is also “notoriously offensive.” (its only me speaking, because I see Rizal as the epitome our our intellectual and cultural attributes and Celdran, a poor substitute.. :) )

      • Parekoy says:

        Actually, I was one of those that was offended by his taste of attire.

        He offended my sartorial feelings. :-)

        • Parekoy says:

          @Jcc

          I like your blogs about the Marcoses! Younger Filipinos should visit your blog to have a taste of history of the Martial Law Years!

          • jcc says:

            Thanks parekoy… :)

            • Parekoy says:

              Welcome.

              @readers, pag gusto nyong subukang basahin,

              Ilagay ang mouse sa blue na pangalan ni Jcc (huwag sa mukha dahil masasaktan sya, yung cyber feeling nya) at mapupunta ka sa blog nya. :-)

          • fed_up says:

            @Parekoy. Thanks for leading me to Jcc’s blog. @Jcc. will visit your blog from time to time from hereon, I’m presently reading a book by Sterling Seagrave (The Marcos Dynasty) and find an article in your blog as corroborative of what I am reading about Marcos’ loot.

            • Parekoy says:

              Welcome.

              Daming mapupulot don kay Jcc.

              Punta ka rin kay Oscar Franklin Tan sa FB nya. Nasa inner circle sya ng legal system natin, so yung mga lumalabas sa kanya ay mga halohalo na ideas ng ibaibang legal experts sa atin. Yung sa rappler nya para kang nanunuod ng basketball o boksing. Mahusay kasi magsulat.

              Stellar ang academic credentials nya, bale pwedeng role model ng mga estudyante. Bata pa at idealistic, di pa kurap, at mukhang may integrity.

              Punta ka rin sa ma Anti-blogs yung mga kontra PNoy, kita mo rin kung ano ang perspective nila. Kahit kalimitan ay hindi ka sang ayon, pero you try mong intindihin motive nila and style, we still learn something from them.

              The more informed, the better.

            • jcc says:

              @fed_up,

              thanks… hope our cpmers should read serious books about our country so they will learn what’s wrong with us…

              they also must read noli me tangere to find that comparing damaso to our present-day prelates is notoriously offensive if they knew who fr. damaso was actually in the novel.

      • jcc says:

        And it is against the dogma of the church to encourage adulter or even to condone it…. :)

      • jcc says:

        And it is against the dogma of the church to condone or encourage adultery.. Celdran’s Damaso placard virtually shoved on the faces of the priests/bishops was an accusation that just like Damaso, they were also adulterers and hypocrites.

        In fact, it was the chief message in his antics, that these prelates are bunch of hypocrites and adulterers too.

        I have no problem acquitting Celdran if he called or suggested that these prelates were adulterers and hypocrites too like Fr. Damaso… But he was right in the premises of the church, which is not considered a “public forum” and Art. 133, can be considered a “time, place and manner’ regulation” if it comes to the point that this whole debate can framed under the “free speech clause” which I humby submit is not.

        • leona says:

          @jcc…is the Manila Cathedral church [at the time of the incident here] ‘a public’ place or a ‘private’ place? ‘In public openly” not in private. As a noun, members of a community in general.

          Practically, the church was ‘opened’ to the public at that time. If it was ‘closed’ for the people or members inside, no else allowed to enter, it becomes ‘private.’

          My opn is the church at the time of Celdran’s acts, was “public” or “in a public place” based on the special circumstances surrounding the event.

          • jcc says:

            @leona,

            you are always confused… simply because a particular establishment accepts the public in its premises does not make that building a public place… everybody is admitted at the mall but that does not make the mall a public place…

            public place under the framework of “free exercise” means, plaza, public streets, etc… places constructed out of government funds… even on such broad definition, you cannot exercise your free speech inside the session hall of the supreme court, though that place can be technically be said to be a public place.

      • leona says:

        @jcc…” xxx If he concluded that the acts of celdran was notoriously offensive, the appellate court is bound by that factual finding.xxx ” can always be set aside by appellate court for good reasons: misplaced; not proof beyond reasonable doubt or
        doubtful; gravely abuse judicial discretion; etc.

        There was no evidence Celdran ‘insinuated’ that word DAMASO to the Bishops, etc. So, it cannot be taken as proof. Only an assumption but not evidence, so it won’t help to prove that thing.

        Interesting topic. Thanks again.

        • jcc says:

          @leona,

          There is such thing as “judicial notice.” The court can take notice of the fact that Fr. Damaso, the friar in Noli Me Tangere was an adulterer and a hypocrite. There is no need to belabor the point. That the Damaso placard was meant to taunt the prelates that just like Fr. Damaso in the novel, they were also adulerers and hypocrites.

      • Rene-Ipil says:

        Jcc@52.2

        Factual findings by the court: Celdran displayed a placard with the word DAMASO on it while an ecumenical service was going on inside the Manila Cathedral.

        Conclusion by the court: The above act of Celdran is offensive to the feelings of the faithful.

        Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution: No decision shall be rendered by the court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based.

        Errors committed by the court: The court failed to state facts which led to its conclusion that the display of the word DAMASO inside the church during an ecumenical service notoriously offended the religious feelings of the faithful.

        Nobody testified or even implied that the word DAMASO refers to the adulterous relationship between Father Damaso and Pia Alba who was the mother of Maria Clara. The three laymen-witnesses did not give any importance or meaning to the word DAMASO. The lone clergy-witness thought that DAMASO refers to the secretary of St. Jerome. How could the word DAMASO offend their religious feelings if same word did not matter to them?

        Definitely, the decision of the court is not based on facts adduced by evidence. Rather, it is based on the imagination by Judge Bermejo that Celdran meant Fr. Damaso, the adulterer. I, myself, is sure that Celdran meant Fr. Damaso of the Noli Me Tangere. But Judge Bermejo’s and my beliefs are not evidence. And the prosecution failed to move that the word DAMASO be declared of judicial notice to mean Fr. Damaso. Without that declaration of judicial notice, the prosecution must prove by testimonial or documentary evidence that the word DAMASO refers to Fr. Damaso. As it is no evidence was presented to that effect.

        Btw (for CPMers) it is of judicial notice that Christmas Day falls on December 25; Jose Rizal is our national hero; GMA was a former president (at least “de facto”); etc.

        • jcc says:

          I would assume that the judge knows who Fr. Damaso was and therefore he considered the placard notoriously offensive. The judge cited the correct law, Art. 133. It has invoked the case of Baes, that said that it is from the perspective of the faithful is the benchmark in the determination as to what constitutes “offensive to the feelings of the faithful.

          The decision may have some shortcoming in style and in legal draftmanship, but its conclusion that the accused was guilty was based on the assertions of the witnesses that they were offended by the acts of the accused.

        • leona says:

          @Rene_Ipil…@jcc…I agree with Rene. And when it comes to the point a court will ‘take judicial notice’ of certain facts, the court is obliged under the Rules of Court, to inform the parties of it’s act on that point. Did the trial court do this? The record does not show it did. So, the taking of judicial notice of the word DAMASO was not correct. In fact, as the record is silent on it, it was an abuse of judicial discretion on the part of the judge.

          • jcc says:

            let the appellate court expound on this .. as i said, the reviewing court can paraprhase further the decision if it seeks to affirm it.

            • jcc says:

              What is important is that the Damaso placard held up high by Celdran infront of the prelates was part of the record which the reviewing court can take notice of and say, it has no purpose other than to insinuate that the prelates, like Friar Damaso were also adulterers and hypocrites.

              If that is not “notoriously offensive” to you, I won’t know what will..

        • Rene-Ipil says:

          Correction: I, myself, am sure . . . .

    • netty says:

      The appeal must then be handled by the smartest criminal and or constitutional lawyers, but it is very expensive way to do. It is the one that is more painful in the wallet. If the conviction is upheld then Celdran’s back check is already tarnished. Yes, it sends a message that if you erred against the law expect a a consequence, but this one is the impairment of the judge to look on the constitutionality of the law. The witnesses were allowed to use hearsay and really do not know who is Damaso. They have vague feeling of being religiously hurt. I think the only ones that were hurt were the egos of the priest for they know what Damaso represented to them. Celdran was protesting what he believes in, that is his freedom of speech and he was not truly disruptive, as the mass continued and he just shouted when he was led away. The people inside the church were annoyed but were able to continue with the mass. Was there an element of offensive harm done to the feelings of people present without reasonable doubt? I for one doubt it. For now, one person is tarnish because of a mistake done based on an outdated law which would take years to change and remedy. It is faster and easier to pocket millions of money which weren’t theirs than to do the work as lawmakers. Why not appoint a clergy man to one of the lawmakers caucus so they can add their input on the laws rather than just being passive- aggressive when their interest is at risk. Be a part of the solution than being a part problem.

  25. Rene-Ipil says:

    The court decision said:

    “The court submits that the act of the accused in displaying the placard with the word “DAMASO” on it inside the Manila Cathedral, while an ecumenical service was going on, is offensive to the feelings of the faithful.” And “In order for an act to be notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful , it must be directed against the religious practice or dogma or ritual for the purpose of ridicule.”

    So the court meant that the guilt of the accused hinges on the word “DAMASO” in the placard. But the court in its narration of the facts of the case did not mention any statement that any of the religious practice or dogma or ritual being participated into by any of the witnesses was being ridiculed or mocked or derided by the word “DAMASO”.

    In fact, three of the four witnesses for the prosecution did not give any negative meaning to the word “DAMASO”. The other prosecution witness, Marcelina Cacal, explained that “DAMASO” refers to a priest that committed something against the church, but contradicted herself later by saying that she does not know the meaning of the word “DAMASO”. Nonetheless, the four witnesses said that they were disturbed or angered by the intrusion of Celdran in the ecumenical service.

    The word “DAMASO” in the placard did not specifically offend the religious feelings of the four prosecution witnesses. It was the intrusion of Celdran that ruffled their feathers. So that if the placard bore the word “TOMAS” their feelings would be the same. Clearly, there is none that offended, much less notoriously, the religious feelings of the witnesses. But they were surely annoyed, irritated, vexed, disturbed or angered by the rude act of Celdran. And that is outside the ambit of Article 133 of the RPC.

  26. -->

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