>Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code: law penalizing offending religious feelings

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A good explanation and view of the law that put Carlos Celdran in jail.

From: Cristina Montes
Date: Sat, 2 Oct 2010 00:18:47 -0700 (PDT)

Dear Editor:

Today’s editorial calling for the repeal of the law penalizing offending religious feelings (“The Philippine Star”, October 2, 2010, p. 14) is highly misinformed.

First of all, it is inaccurate to portray Carlos Celdran as a martyr for his free speech rights.  He is not being charged for simply expressing his views; hence your fear that “80 percent of the population who through surveys have expressed support for birth control” could be imprisoned for offending religious feelings is unfounded.  He is being charged for having scoffed at church authority during the mass and inside a church.  Please take the trouble of researching what Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code actually penalizes.   The constitution protects Carlos Celdran’s right to express his views, no matter how unconventional they may be, but the constitution likewise protects the rights of everyone to worship according to their religious beliefs in peace.  While he has the right to express dissenting opinions, he has no right to infringe on other people’s right to worship in peace.

Second, the provision penalizing offending religious feelings applies to all religions alike.  To repeal the law against offending religious feelings would be to expose all religions — and not just the Catholic religion — to contempt.  The repeal would mean anyone can burn the Koran inside a mosque during an Islamic service, or make a heated attack on Manalo inside an Iglesia ni Cristo building during their Thursday pagsamba.  These scenarios hardly promote mutual understanding among religions.  The above mentioned examples are offensive to modern sensibilities; a similar affront on the Catholic religion is no less offensive. 

For quite some time, I have been disappointed with your newspaper which, while printing inspirational quotes about God on its footer and daily biblical commentaries, prints a lot of articles and editorials supporting the RH bill.  I have tolerated your publication of these articles even if I don’t agree with them.  But your approval of Carlos Celdran’s offensive behavior is no longer a healthy exercise of free speech; it is an affront to what the majority of the population holds sacred.    Please consider my subscription to your newspaper cancelled.

Sincerely,
Atty. Cristina A. Montes
30 Nottingham St.
Hillsborough, Alabang
Muntinlupa, MM
Tel No 0917-7937180

 

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