Celdran appeals conviction before SC
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - October 23, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Tour guide and cultural activist Carlos Celdran has elevated to the Supreme Court (SC) his appeal to overturn his conviction for offending religious feelings over a 2010 protest at the Manila Cathedral against the Catholic Church’s opposition to the Reproductive Health law.

In a 70-page petition filed yesterday, he asked the high court to reverse the final ruling of the Court of Appeals last August upholding the guilty verdict handed down by a Manila court in 2012.

Lawyer Marlon Manuel, said his client “cannot be convicted under a penal statute that violates the most cherished constitutional rights we have under the Constitution: the rights to due process, equality before the law, and the freedom of speech.”

Celdran also urged the SC to decriminalize the criminal offense under Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) by declaring it unconstitutional.

“Article 133 must be struck down for being a remnant and reminder of the frailocracy that Jose Rizal himself had detested and attacked in his famous novels. A law that violates the constitutional principle of separation of state and church and the non-establishment clause ought to be declared for what it is: an unconstitutional law,” he alleged.

The case stemmed from Celdran’s protest when he dressed as national hero Jose Rizal before the Papal Nuncio, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, several bishops and other religious and held up a placard with the word “Damaso” – a reference to the villainous friar from Rizal’s novel “Noli Me Tangere.”

Article 133 of the RPC, which has been in the books since 1930, punishes anyone who “in a place of worship or during the celebration of any religious ceremony, shall perform acts notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful.” 

 

ACIRC CARLOS CELDRAN CATHOLIC CHURCH CELDRAN COURT OF APPEALS GAUDENCIO CARDINAL ROSALES JOSE RIZAL LAWYER MARLON MANUEL MANILA CATHEDRAL NOLI ME TANGERE PAPAL NUNCIO
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