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Carlos Celdran, the Revised Penal Code, the Church and the State, and the Cybercrime Law

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After two years (that’s how speedy our justice system in our country is), the case of Mr. Carlos Celdran, a tour guide and reproductive health advocate who interrupted an inter-faith gathering by raising a placard with the name of Padre Damaso on it as he protested against the Catholic Church’s opposition to the RH Bill (which is now a law), is now finally resolved. The Manila City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 4 under Judge Juan Bermejo found him guilty of “offending religious feelings’’ (Article 133, Section 4 of the Revised Penal Code) that has an equivalent penalty of “prison term of a minimum of two months to a maximum of 13 months and 11 days.”

Manila Bulletin (MB) intern Jamaica Digo again asked for my thoughts for MB Students and Campuses Section on whether Mr. Celdran deserves to be jailed or not.  The article was published last February 4 and here are my thoughts:

“The law says he is bound for imprisonment for violating Article 133 of our Revised Penal Code. But the issue is: is ‘airing out’ our sentiments amidst religious gathering or even amidst any gathering or any place including the cyberworld, a crime? As long as it is non-violent, it should not be considered a crime. Hence, our campaign for the decriminalization of libel and the junking of the Cybercrime Law.

On the other hand, seeing things from a Catholic’s perspective, the Church could have just forgiven Celdran. Blessed John Paull II did that to his assassin. Moreso, Christ is doing that to His people as He teaches them not to hate the sinner but the sin. It is then ironic that the Filipino Catholic Church went after an individual for committing an act that did not physically harm anyone whereas it is not aggressive in going after those who have physically abused, even killed people who were just asserting for their rights and liberty.” –Kristian Jacob Abad Lora, fourth year, Computer Science, University of the Philippines-Cebu

First published on Manila Bulletin, February 4, 2013 http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/392430/should-carlos-celdran-be-punished-or-not

AMEND the 83-year old Revised Penal Code!
ASSERT our Freedom of Expression!
DECRIMINALIZE libel!
JUNK Cybercrime Law!

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Author: pchan_august

Juris Doctor (Law) Student. Iskolar ng Bayan. Activist. Environmentalist. Frustrated Singer, Poet and Writer. Computer Enthusiast. Servant of the Masses. God's Servant.

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