Section Four. — Crimes against religious worship
Art. 132. Interruption of religious worship. — The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum period shall be imposed upon any public officer or employee who shall prevent or disturb the ceremonies or manifestations of any religion.
If the crime shall have been committed with violence or threats, the penalty shall be prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods.chanrobles virtual law library
Art. 133. Offending the religious feelings. — The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period shall be imposed upon anyone who, in a place devoted to religious worship or during the celebration of any religious ceremony shall perform acts notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful.
This is the law that was used to convict Carlos Celdran when he interrupted a mass in Manila Cathedral last 2010.
Now as we can see in the picture above, this is quite an appalling act. It is certainly disrespectful. As Celdran uses the stigma which the name “Damaso” possesses, he accuses the Catholic Church as conniving, corrupt and bent. I understand the plea of the CBCP for justice with regards to this event. I agree that what Carlos Celdran did was distasteful, a protest out-of-place. I believe that there could have been a better way of protesting against the CBCP or the Catholic Church, provided we are in a democracy.
Carlos Celdran, under this law, is guilty. This law protects our right as worshipers of God. And, I am thankful that our democracy addresses the need and the rights of the faithful. I wouldn’t want the peace and security of any faith be disrupted at all cost. Being part of Victory Christian Fellowship and at the same time a volunteer worship leader, I certainly enjoy the protection and security that this law indicates. I can sing my heart out, jump on stage, play music for the Lord in focused exaltation. This is a gift, a blessing that we enjoy in this democracy.
Remember when Christ was asked, “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Matthew 22:18. Jesus answered “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” Matthew 22:21. Jesus Christ respected the existence of the government. Moreover, He respected the taxation laws of Rome! Christ did not break laws as He walked in Jerusalem spreading the truth. He observed the laws, and respected the culture. Christ moved in peaceful protest. It was the people who jumped, in persecuting Him.
I am not against Carlos Celdran. Rather, I am for the right of every believer regardless of their faith to have the full confidence and security to convene and worship in respect to their beliefs. We are in a country where we still place great value on worshiping God. And I am thankful for this.